The consensus is that the upcoming G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers will address the issue of food inflation.
In previous G20 meetings last year, the hot button issue was currency wars. Now, food inflation, a related topic, is the more immediate concern.
Indeed, it, combined, with poor jobs markets, was partly responsible for the popular uprisings around the world (mostly in north Africa).
Adam Fergusson, a prominent British journalist, author, and politician, told IBTimes in an earlier interview that starvation was a big factor in these rebellions.
Aside from rebellions, the G20 , an organization that vows to combat poverty, probably realizes the fact that food inflation is disproportionately hurting the millions of poor people around the world.
Then there is the reality that the rebellions are adversely affecting the national interests of powerful G20 members like France, the host of this year's summit.
Indeed, the rebellion in Tunisia disrupted France's business interests.
Powerful countries in general, of course, have a vested interest in the geopolitical stability of the Arab world and the operation of Egypt's Suez Canal.
As for discussions about tackling global food inflation, three points are likely to be discussed.
1. Speculation and hoarding are driving up prices. Although it just sounds like policy makers inventing excuses, there is actually credible evidence that these two forces are part of the problem. The G20 countries, therefore, may act to curb the speculation and hoarding of food items.
2. Why is there speculation and hoarding in the first place? A reason that cannot be ignored is the combination of ample liquidity (from QE2 and other similar programs) and negative real interest rates, which create strong incentives for financial operators to find returns in places like the commodities market. In the last period leading up to the G20 meetings, countries (especially China) criticized policies like QE2. This time around, with arguably tangible evidence of the damages they're doing, the issue of excessive liquidity will likely be brought up again.
3. Agriculture/livestock is one of the most heavily subsidized, protected, and distorted markets in the world. It's a key reason the Doha Round of the WTO has stalled for about a decade. If G20 members can somehow work out an agreement to free up this global industry and thus increase efficiencies and production, the global food inflation will likely become less severe.
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