Food prices are a matter of life and death to many in the developing world. Financial markets that should be helping food growers and processors to manage their risk and set prices have become a potential threat to global food security. Deregulated and secretive agricultural commodity derivatives markets have attracted huge sums of speculative money, and there is growing evidence that they deliver distorted and unpredictable food prices.
Financial speculation can play an important role to help food producers and end users manage risks, but in light of the harm that excessive speculation may cause to millions, action is required now to address the problem. This briefing explains what has gone wrong with financial markets and what could be done to fix them.