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Indonesia Fights Globalized
Agro-Food Speculators

Feb. 18, 2011 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LaRouche PAC)

The two-day ministerial meeting of the G-20 nations which began Feb. 18 in Paris, put the topic of the deadly menace of food-commodity hyperinflation, on its agenda. Indonesia, for one, demanded action against speculation. In opposition, came a chorus of defenders of "markets," including even Cargill and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, directly.

"We want the G20 forum to put pressure [on the markets] so there would be no speculators, or any financial or non-financial industries, who speculate on food commodities," said Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo, reported by the Jarkarta Post Feb. 17, on a briefing given to reporters in Jarkarta Feb. 16, before Agus departed for Paris.

"...[A]t the G20 level, for the long-term, we want the countries to pool funds in one specific fund to increase food productivity, but for the short term, we must deliver the message to financial and non-financial industries which speculate on food prices, as well as futures trading industries, so they do not destabilize prices."

Indonesia, with 250 million people, the fourth most populous country in the world, suffered crop losses from bad weather in 2010, and is rocked by food hyperinflation across the board, from rice to chilies.

All measures show food speculation volume going off the charts. According to European Union data, non-food "investor" players in commodities increased their involvement in markets from $15 billion in 2003, up to $300 billion in 2008, and now that figure is soaring to the sky.

Too bad, but "don't touch the markets," was the message from Cargill, and others of the global agro-food cartel, including from their government flunkey officials in the Obama Administration and in London. Paul Conway, senior vice president of Cargill, the world's largest agro-company, and completely private, was quoted in a defend-the-killer-markets review in the Feb. 17 Wall Street Journal: " 'Speculators are always an easy target, but speculators didn't cause food prices to rally in the second half of 2010,' he said. 'The more you have different types of players trying to use the derivatives markets, the more they reflect the true price of the commodity.' " Conway insisted that blame be restricted to bad weather and natural disasters.

Likewise, a spokesman for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange itself (CME Group), David Lehman, responsible for innovating new futures betting opportunities, spoke out to say that blame for food-price volatility is to be placed on too much "demand growth," and lack of "transparency" in emerging markets.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, host of the Paris meeting, and rotating chair for this year's presidency of the G20 and G8, has said that food-price inflation will get special attention, with a meeting in June; and there was talk of a "working group" to be commissioned at the G20 meeting.