Midwest Floods Mount Food Prices

Posted on June 18, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

QUINCY, Ill. – Hundreds of volunteers on the surging Mississippi River piled sandbags atop strained levees on Tuesday as the worst Midwest flooding in 15 years delivered a blow to the US economy and world food prices.
Comparisons have been made to the major 1993 flooding that caused more than US$20 billion in damage and 48 deaths in the Midwest. This month’s flooding has caused few deaths, with Iowa hardest hit. But the damage has yet to be toted up.
Corn and soybean prices stayed near record levels as millions of acres of cropland have been lost or damaged in the world’s largest grain exporter. Meat prices also soared, in line with the costs for feeding cattle, hogs and chickens.
The problems add up to more food inflation for not just US consumers, but also dozens of countries that buy US grain. The United States exports 54 percent of the world’s corn, 36 percent of soybeans and 23 percent of wheat.
“We’ve faced some pressure this year, but there could be greater pressure next year on food inflation when protein prices start to increase,” said Bill Lapp, a food industry consultant and former chief economist at Conagra Inc.
“I, unfortunately, have been to too many disasters as president,” Bush said…

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