Today, a major player in food price speculation has announced that they will stop doing it. Barclays bank is the latest bank to swear off food speculation following a few other major European banks. We hope that the banks in the U.S. will begin to follow this trend.
From Reuters Alert Net, writer Astrid Zweynert relays the announcement.
The Financial Times website reported that the British bank is looking into withdrawing from agricultural commodities trading as part of its drive to rebuild its reputation after a series of scandals.
The FT said such a possible retreat was part of a strategic overhaul by the bank’s new chief executive, Antony Jenkins, who is screening the reputational impact of every business line Barclays operates in.
“If I decided to stop trading soft agricultural products it is not driven by regulation,” the FT quoted Rich Ricci, chief executive of corporate and investment banking, as saying.
“It is because it doesn’t sit socially well with the large constituent of our customers,” Ricci said at the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards on Wednesday.
Financial speculation in staple foods, such as wheat, maize and corn, fuels dramatic spikes in food prices, pushing food beyond the reach of the world’s poorest people, campaigners say.
“Barclays appears to be relying on the police force of public opinion to tell it that speculating on food prices is wrong, rather than acknowledging its own moral responsibility,” said Deborah Doane, chief executive of the World Development Movement.