Escalating Warfare Could Send Global Food Prices Into Overdrive
By Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse Blog
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The only way that we can continue to have cheap food is if we have cheap energy. We use energy to grow our food, to harvest our food, to produce our food and to package our food. And transporting all of that food from the farm to the factory and then to the stores takes lots of energy. Of course it isn't just our food supply that depends upon cheap energy.
Ultimately, our entire way of life is predicated on a cheap energy paradigm. If you take cheap energy away, everything changes.
That is why this war in the Middle East could represent such a critical economic tipping point.
31 percent of the world's oil comes from the Middle East.
If that supply is restricted or completely cut off for an extended period of time, we will be in for a world of hurt.
But don't just take my word for it. At this point, even the World Bank is sounding the alarm...
Oil prices could be pushed into 'uncharted waters', which could lead to higher food prices worldwide if the violence between Israel and Hamas intensifies, the World Bank has said.
The bank's Commodity Markets Outlook found that while the effects on oil prices should be limited if the conflict does not widen, the outlook 'would darken quickly if the conflict were to escalate'.
In a worst case scenario, the World Bank says that the price of oil could go as high as 157 dollars a barrel...
In a 'large disruption' scenario - comparable to the Arab oil embargo of 1973 - the global oil supply would shrink by six million to eight million barrels per day and prices could go up by 56 per cent to 75 per cent, or $140 to $157 a barrel, according to the report.
Other experts are projecting that the price of a barrel of oil could eventually go as high as 300 dollars a barrel.
If energy prices start to scream higher as more parties join the war in the Middle East, global food prices will go far higher than they are right now.
Of course they have already reached absurd levels.
This month, a lot of Americans are complaining about ridiculously high candy prices. Over the past year, they have risen by 13 percent in the United States...
Halloween candy inflation is up by double digits for the second year in a row, with prices 13% higher this October compared to the same time last year, according to new data.
Prices of candy and gum in October 2022 had already increased by 14% from the previous year, The Associated Press reported over the weekend, citing data from retail price tracker Datasembly.
"The price of candy has gotten to be outrageous," small business owner Jessica Weathers, who lives in the 14,400-resident village of Shiloh, Illinois. "It doesn't make sense to me to spend $100 on candy."
But that is nothing compared to what is happening to orange juice.
Since March 2020, the price of frozen orange juice concentrate is up 388 percent...
Orange juice futures hit a record high of $4.1195 per pound, up 10% on Monday morning. The frozen orange juice concentrate has soared 388% since March 2020 as weather and disease crush citrus supply in Florida, the biggest producer of oranges in the US.
David Branch of Wells Fargo recently told Yahoo Finance that Florida's orange crop is expected to come in around 713,000 tons, the smallest since the 1936-37 season.
Do you remember the days when we could all afford to drink orange juice on a regular basis?
Sadly, those days are long gone.
At this stage, even a meal at McDonald's has become painfully expensive.
If you can believe it, a Big Mac combo meal at one location in Connecticut now costs 18 dollars...
However, McDonald's -- which has 13,513 restaurants in the US and over 38,000 abroad -- did not disclose how much the franchiser has increased its prices, which generally vary between locations.
One branch in Darien, Conn., charged as much as $18 for a Big Mac combo meal, which includes medium fries and a medium soft drink.
Meanwhile, that same Big Mac combo will run hungry patrons $13.69 at a McDonald's in Times Square.
Thanks to these skyrocketing food prices, more Americans are going hungry than ever before.
This week, we learned that the number of Americans "suffering from hunger and food insecurity" increased by more than 10 million from 2021 to 2022...
The number of Americans suffering from hunger and food insecurity exploded by more than 10 million under President Joe Biden, according to a U.S. Agriculture Department report this week that provided fresh evidence of inflation's impact of a basic staple of life.
The report found 44.2 million Americans were living in food-insecure households in 2022, compared to 33.8 million the year before.
"From 2021 to 2022, there were statistically significant increases in food insecurity and very low food security for nearly all subgroups of households described in this report," USDA reported Wednesday.
So if things were that bad in 2022, how high is that number today?
My guess is that we are well beyond 50 million at this point.
And what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.
Unfortunately, most Americans simply cannot comprehend what is happening.
Our stores have always been packed to the gills with mountains of cheap food, and so for many people it is really hard to understand that era is ending.
If you have not already done so, I would very much encourage you to stockpile supplies of food while you still can.
Because this war in the Middle East is just getting started, and food prices will soon be shooting up to levels that would have once been considered unimaginable.