10 June 1999
Depressed grain prices to persist
By Philip Clarke
DEPRESSED grain prices will persist for at least another two years largely due to support systems in the European Union, the US and China, it was claimed today.
Global grain supplies have failed to adjust to falling demand because of continued interference in world grain markets, said Cargill president Huub Spierings.
Carry-over stocks must fall to ease the pressure on prices and governments must resist the temptation to interfere in the market, he told a grain conference in London.
Short of a real weather problem affecting the huge US spring crops, there appears little chance for todays low, low grain prices to make a major move upwards before 2001-2, said Mr Spierings.
Liberalising the worlds grain trade would bring with it many benefits, he added.
Other sectors of business have shown how increasing trade can generate wealth but the grain trade has largely stagnated since the early 1980s.
Global trade in agricultural products must increase sharply if farming is to contribute more significantly to economic prospects in the next century, said Mr Spierings.