– Roubini’s Next Crisis Is Scary Food for Thought (Bloomberg):
Yet the economic consequences of food prices pale in comparison with the social ones. Nowhere could the fallout be greater than Asia, where a critical mass of those living on less than $2 a day reside. It might have major implications for Asia’s debt outlook. It may have even bigger ones for leaders hoping to keep the peace and avoid mass protests.
It’s not hyperbole when Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the U.S. financial crisis, says surging food and energy costs are stoking emerging-market inflation that’s serious enough to topple governments. Hosni Mubarak over in Egypt can attest to that.
It’s important to begin considering the side effects. The United Nations reckons countries spent at least $1 trillion on food imports in 2010, with the poorest paying as much as 20 percent more than in 2009. These increases are just getting started. In January, world food prices rose to another record on higher dairy, sugar and grain costs.