End food commodities speculation, religious groups, others urge

WASHINGTON (CNS) — While much of the nation’s attention has been focused on the stock market, a coalition of religious, social justice, rural and environmental groups is working to bring attention to damage it says has been caused worldwide by a speculative commodities futures market. “Food is not a speculative investment,” said the coalition in a Sept. 23 letter to President George W. Bush and members of Congress. “The artificial demand that has been created by investors’ rampant speculation in commodities futures has put tremendous upward price pressure on food and energy commodities.” More than 3 billion people around the world subsist on less than $2 a day, half of which goes to pay for food, the letter said. With the doubling or tripling of food prices caused by speculators, “many of the world’s poor can no longer afford the food that they need to survive,” it added. Although commodity futures prices have recently come down, the letter said, “the regulatory loopholes that undermine the intent of the Commodity Exchange Act remain open, ready to reintroduce extreme market volatility, political instability and much human suffering.”

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