Friday, 14 December 2012

The Food Speculator

This documentary from VPRO Tegenlicht examines the global commodities futures markets and aims to understand the role of speculation on food prices. The presenter raises a small pool of capital to trade agricultural commodities so he can gain a first hand understanding of the role of the speculator. He travels to Tunisia - a country where rising grain prices saw bread become unaffordable; which ultimately lead to an uprising and regime change, i.e. "the Arab spring". He also attends some futures trading industry symposiums to speak to the industry participants and travels to Chicago - home of the CBOT to find out what "good speculators" and "bad speculators" are. When you think about the key function of commodity futures markets, the main purpose is to help producers and buyers of commodities to manage price risk i.e. hedging. Speculators play a vital role of providing liquidity - in other words in order to conduct a futures trade to hedge crop output you need an active market that provides price discovery and low cost and timely trade execution. Interesting viewing, also note parts of the documentary are in Dutch with English subtitles. See also: Anatomy of a Trade - The NYBOT

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