On the Global Ag Bandwagon

June 24, 2009 07:00 PM

Linda Smith, Top Producer Executive Editor

More than 200 investment managers and investors from around the world gathered in New York City June 22 and 23 for a meeting arranged by SoyaTech to learn more about global agriculture and how to benefit from what is considered a bright spot on the financial scene.
Investing in commodities began to gain momentum following a 2004 Yale study that made the case that it provides a hedge against inflation and is noncorrelated to stocks. Its popularity was helped along by popular market pundit Jim Rogers, author of Hot Commodities (see Why Investors are Hot on Commodities, September 2006 Top Producer). Today, the investment community is taking positions from dirt to fork, buying not only commodity futures/options, but stocks of food and ag companies and farmland, itself, worldwide.
"As recently as five years ago, I would not have imagined agriculture would draw the attention of the public and the press that we now see,” said Philippe de Laperouse, managing director of global food, agribusiness and biofuels practice for HighQuestParners. "But agriculture is more resilient to the global economic crisis.”
de Laperouse and others on the podium expect world gross domestic product to improve in 2010. Presenting a 10-year outlook, de Laperouse said that real (inflation adjusted) ag prices have halted their long-term downtrend and will remain above the 1997-2006 levels. "Production of various commodities will need to grow 10% to 40% as developing countries drive demand and export growth.”

You can e-mail Linda Smith at lsmith@farmjournal.com.

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