Food Markets in Dutch: Dutch Banks and Pension Funds in Agricultural Derivatives Markets
Rens Van Tilburg
January 2, 2012
The role of financial investors in commodity derivatives markets, especially in agricultural commodity derivatives markets, has been fiercely debated since 2008. In a recent report SOMO concluded that there now is enough evidence of the distorting effect of these financial investments on futures and sport prices for policymakers to curb these financial investments according to the precautionary principle as high food prices have such devastating consequences for the poorest in this world, that spend up to 80% of their income on food. However, not only policymakers have a role in this matter. From a corporate social responsibility perspective also private financial institutions have a duty in upholding human rights, including the right to affordable food. Having a relatively large financial sector, the Netherlands could be a significant player in this field as well. To date, no systematic information is available regarding the role Dutch financial institutions perform related to (agricultural) commodity markets. Therefore, for civil society organizations working in the field of food and development it is not clear whom to involve in a dialogue on this matter. The current report seeks to fill this void by listing the activities of large Dutch financial institutions in the (agricultural) commodity derivatives markets. The world food markets are, with the number of hungry people in the world on the rise again, clearly having great problems. Or, as 19th century English slang would say: ‘these markets are in Dutch’, alluding to the problem of having to face stern reprimands of ‘a Dutch uncle’. This report investigates how ‘Dutch’ these problems really are.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: speculation, derivatives, commodities, agriculture, financial investment, food
Date posted: January 2, 2012
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