Financial Reform Bill Could Stabilize Commodities

The financial reform bill that has finally cleared the Senate would help stabilize commodities markets, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), an OtherWords partner. “The Senate bill helps make the market function like a market should–in an open and transparent way, instead of like a casino where only five big financial firms know what is going on,” said IATP analyst Steve Suppan. “Excessive speculation has hurt U.S. agriculture by undermining the original purpose of commodity exchanges–to help commodity sellers and buyers manage price risk. We don’t want a repeat of 2008, when prices were so volatile that U.S. grain elevators couldn’t hedge their own risks on commodity exchanges. Some elevators refused to contract to buy farmers’ grain in advance, leading to a cash flow crisis on many farms.” That volatility hammered American agriculture, and exacerbated hunger in developing countries that import much of their food.