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Big Commodity Traders Control World Grain Market

The devastating heatwave that's overtaken the United States is destroying a great part of American agriculture. Forty-five percent of the corn crop has been destroyed, 35 percent of the soya bean crop, pushing the price of commodities to record highs. Overall, the global food prices have risen by 6 percent in July alone.

The devastating heatwave that's overtaken the United States is destroying a great part of American agriculture. Forty-five percent of the corn crop has been destroyed, 35 percent of the soya bean crop, pushing the price of commodities to record highs. Overall, the global food prices have risen by 6 percent in July alone.

And what is the reaction of one of the biggest commodity traders in the world? Well, here's what the head of food department for Glencore had to say about all this. Chris Mahoney, who's the traders' director of agricultural products, said on a conference call, quote, "In terms of the outlook for the balance of the year, the environment is a good one." I have to add, a good one for Glencore. "High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities"—and that's "the purchase and sale of an asset in order to profit from price differences in different markets." Glencore, it should be added, reported pretax profits last year of $2.2 billion.

Sophia Murphy works as a consultant and senior adviser on agricultural, trade, and governance issues with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She's co-author of a new research report, Cereal secrets: The world's largest grain traders and global agriculture, joins Paul Jay, Senior Editor, TRNN to discuss.

Full transcript available here.

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