Strange as it sounds, the latest advocate of strict limits on food speculation is none other than the chief executive of one of Germany’s biggest banks - and one that's been profiting from it. In a letter sent earlier this week to Foodwatch, one of WDM’s German allies, Lars Hille of DZ Bank speaks out in support of regulation of the agricultural commodity markets as well as announcing his own bank’s withdrawal from the practice.
The move brings the total number of European banks who have responded to public pressure on the issue, with statements that they are reducing, suspending or withdrawing their involvement in food speculation, to eleven. While some of the announcements may have been more of a PR exercise (we turned up at Barclays’ AGM this year to make it clear that they couldn’t get away with claiming to pull out of food speculation while continuing to facilitate speculation by investors such as pension funds), or simply due to declining profits from the sector, it’s still clear that our message is being heard.
Next month, European negotiators and finance ministers are due to agree their position on proposals to regulate food speculation in Europe. With big improvements made since the first draft was published at the end of 2011, there are still some major loopholes that need to be closed if we want the new legislation to effectively curb food speculation and stop financial gambling contributing to global hunger and poverty. It’s not too late to be part of the solution – take action now!