Food-Security Fears Spark Panic-Hoarding, Could Drive Inflation Sky-High


26-03-20 11:24:00,

A senior economist from the United Nation’s (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) told Reuters that food inflation could be imminent as people and governments panic hoard food and supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic

“All you need is panic buying from big importers such as millers or governments to create a crisis,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO. 

“It is not a supply issue, but it is a behavioral change over food security,” Abbassian said. “What if bulk buyers think they can’t get wheat or rice shipments in May or June? That is what could lead to a global food supply crisis.”

Consumers from Asia to Europe to the Americas have been panic hoarding food at supermarkets as governments enforce strict social distancing measures to flatten pandemic curves to slowdown infections. 

Grain futures are green on Monday morning, have caught a bid in the last several sessions, led by soybean, oats, and wheat. Investors are starting to pile into grains as the demand for food staples (especially bread, flour, pasta, and crackers) has been elevated. 

France’s grain industry has seen surging demand and struggles to find enough truck operators and staff to keep factories running as panic buying of flour and pasta has led to an increase in wheat exports. 

European countries have enforced strict measures at their boarders amid the virus crisis that is devastating Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the UK. This has led to food supply disruption across several European countries.

Inflationary pressures could be nearing for food prices as the stockpiling continues. Combine this with a crashing global economy and high unemployment, and maybe stagflation is ahead.

Here’s what Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at the wealth management firm Tressis Gestion, recently said about the threat of stagflation: 

“It is very likely that the shutdown of major developed economies will be followed by a shutdown of emerging markets, creating a supply shock as we have not seen in decades. Taking massive inflationary and demand-driven measures in a supply shock is not only a mistake, it is the recipe for stagflation and guarantees a multi-year negative impact generated by rising debt,

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New Fears for Julian Assange – Global Research


09-08-19 02:12:00,

Legendary journalist John Pilger has been to see Assange in Belmarsh Prison in London and his report is not encouraging.

Journalist John Pilger visited imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday and has raised an alarm about Assange’s “deteriorated” health.

Pilger said in a Tweet on Wednesday that Assange is “isolated” and treated “worse than a murderer.”

“I now fear for him,” Pilger wrote.

Do not forget Julian #Assange. Or you will lose him.
I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated. Treated worse than a murderer, he is isolated, medicated and denied the tools to fight the bogus charges of a US extradition. I now fear for him. Do not forget him.

— John Pilger (@johnpilger) August 7, 2019

Assange is suffering from an undisclosed ailment and has been confined to the hospital ward at the maximum security prison for several weeks.  He was arrested on April 11 by British police who were called by the Ecuadorian government into its London embassy in apparent violation of international asylum law. Assange had been granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012. He had been suffering health problems in the embassy but British authorities refused to allow him to leave the embassy for treatment and return without being arrested.

Almost immediately after his eventual arrest the United States unveiled an indictment against him for alleged intrusion into a government computer although the indictment itself describes normal procedures of investigative journalism:  encouraging a source to provide more information and working to protect the source’s identity.

On May 23, Assange was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for possession and dissemination of classified information given to him by WikiLeak‘s source, Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. army intelligence analyst. It was the first time the Espionage Act was used against a journalist for publishing classified information.

Manning, meanwhile, is imprisoned in Alexandria, VA for refusing to testify to a grand jury on Assange’s case. Since Assange has already been twice indicted, it is not clear if a new indictment against him is being prepared. On Wednesday, the judge in Manning’s case denied her a hearing and said $1,000-a-day fines against her did not amount to “punishment.”

Assange is now fighting an extradition request from the United States as he serves a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh for having skipped bail in an unrelated Swedish investigation into sexual assault allegations,

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Why West Fears ‘Made in China: 2025’ | New Eastern Outlook

Why West Fears ‘Made in China: 2025’ | New Eastern Outlook

04-08-18 07:06:00,


The Trump administration has made the Chinese industrial transformation strategy, “Made in China: 2025,” or simply China 2025 the explicit target of its current trade war offensive against the Peoples’ Republic. Western industrial leading countries, including Germany, are understandably alarmed. Only they are ten years late, and until now have foolishly refused to collaborate with China in key developments, including of the new economic Silk Road or Belt Road Initiative. Here I want to briefly indicate what China is doing. In future reports I will discuss some fundamental flaws in their industrial strategy. Here it is important to understand what China 2025 signals to Western industrial domination.

When he took office, China President Xi Jinping moved to propose what is now the Belt and Road Initiative, a comprehensive network of new infrastructure projects going from China across Asia and Eurasia to the Middle East and the European Union. Xi proposed the BRI at a meeting in Kazakhstan in 2013. Then in 2015, after little more than two years in office, Xi Jinping endorsed a comprehensive national industrial strategy, Made in China: 2025. China 2025 replaced an earlier document that had been formulated with the World Bank and the USA under Robert Zoellick.

One quality I’ve come to appreciate from first hand observation over the course of numerous visits and discussions across China since 2008 is the remarkable determination of Chinese institutions and people, once a national strategy consensus is agreed, to realize that with almost a ruthless determination. Mistakes have been made, in the rush to go from one of the world’s most impoverished peasant economies to the world’s largest industrial producer. Quality control often has been secondary priority. However, step by step since Deng’s 1979 “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” policy turn, China has emerged to become the literal workshop of the world. Until now it has been producing on license for Western multinationals such as VW or Buick GM cars, iPhones or MacBooks, or countless other products for Western multinationals.

“Rejuvenating Chinese manufacturing”

Now China is changing that. Much as Japan did after 1952 then later South Korea embracing the Japanese example, and more relevantly Germany after 1871, China is going to what they describe as “rejuvenating Chinese manufacturing.” This, translated, means instead of being the workshop assembling components for foreign giants like Apple,

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