Role in Food Shortages and Inflation
Relationship of Grain Markets to Grocery Prices
The gyrations of American commodities markets in recent months hearken back to The Pit, Frank Norris's novel of turn-of-the-century grain trading in Chicago—a portrayal of vast speculation in distant crops yet unharvested and of fortunes made and lost within the range of a day's price quotations. Fueled by mounting food shortages abroad and by massive exports of U.S. farm products, the commodity exchanges this year have reeled under wave upon wave of spectacular price movements, most of them upward.
In just one year, the price of soybeans nearly quadrupled, rising from $3.30 per bushel in July 1972 to $12.27 in July 1973, then dropping back to $6.50 in early September. Wheat hit an all-time ...