Grain stocks and price spikes

Research reports and studies
January 2010
Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats

This paper reviews the role stocks played in the 2007/08 spike in world food prices and their potential for mitigating future food price volatility. It reviews available information on cereals stocks internationally and considers the role of stocks in the formation of the price spike. It discusses historical experiences of prices stabilisation schemes involving buffer stocks, and assesses current proposals to stabilise prices internationally. The data used come from published statistics, mainly those from the FAO and USDA, the academic and professional literature, and from interviews with key informants at the FAO, in the grain trade, and at the International Grains Council (IGC).

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