A combination of factors came together at once to create last year’s highly volatile prices, according to Greg Page, Cargill chairman and CEO. "From weather-related supply shocks in food commodities, grain export restrictions and rising energy prices to the uneven global economic recovery, looming sovereign debts and deficits, political unrest and natural disasters—the uncertainty led to volatile prices across a range of raw materials," Page says.
His statement was part of the company’s announcement of quarterly and annual earnings. Cargill’s quarterly earnings for the fiscal 2011 fourth quarter, which ended May 31, showed a 7% decrease from the previous year. For the entire fiscal year, earnings from continuing operations totaled $2.69 billion, a 35% increase from $1.99 billion in the prior year. Agriculture services posted a strong quarter and year, the company says. Overall, three of Cargill’s five business segments increased earnings in the fourth quarter.