There may be a decent case for deflation in many parts of the U.S. economy, given a surplus of capacity and subdued U.S. demand, but for agriculture it’s an entirely different story.
Agricultural demand isn’t primarily driven by the U.S.. It’s major growth driver comes from emerging markets consumption, and even as developed markets remain mired by sub-par economic growth, emerging economies are charging forward. They’re getting wealthier, and scaling up their diets to include more meats and oil seeds (such as soybeans) in turn.
That’s one reason why, as developing nations debate whether deflation is ahead, food prices are exploding across the world.
The price of meat has just hit a 20-year high, while food prices in general are heading towards their previous 2007 peak according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO). The FAO’s international index of meat prices hit 138.7 in August, which is higher than at any time since 1990. Their overall international food price index hit 175.9 in August, after being ‘just’ 167.4 last month, reapproaching its past super-spike.
This is powerful news if you’re in the agricultural space.
Note these index prices are relative to prices from 2002 – 2004 (Value 100 = 2002 – 2004)