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2013-01-22 |

Deutsche Bank: Speculating with Food “in the interest of clients”

Wheat Deutsche Bank to keep dealing in agricultural-based financial products (Foto: Hedrowilson)

On Saturday, Deutsche Bank - Europe’s largest bank in terms of assets - announced it would continue trading in agricultural-based financial products, products which food campaigners blame for rising food prices. In a panel discussion at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin, Deutsche Bank Co-Chief Executive Jürgen Fitschen said an internal review had found no convincing proof that food-based financial instruments led to greater food price volatility. “Deutsche Bank has therefore decided in the interest of its clients that it will continue to offer financial instruments linked to agricultural products,” Fitschen said. With this move, the bank lifted the moratorium on trading new commodities products introduced by former Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann in March 2012. The announcement drew fierce criticism from non-governmental organisations. “The biggest losers will be the poorest people on low income. They will be facing even more volatile and higher food prices”, said Heidi Chow, a campaigner with World Development Movement (WDM), a British anti-poverty group. WDM research found that total assets of financial speculators in commodity markets increased from 65 billion US dollars in 2006 to 126 billion in 2011, leading to soaring food prices and pushing 44 million people into extreme poverty in the last six months of 2010 alone. Thilo Bode, director of the German consumer group Foodwatch, described the bank’s decision as highly irresponsible. “There are sufficient scientific findings and practical evidence that the financial products Deutsche Bank is selling lead to speculative price bubbles on the future market for agricultural raw materials and therefore can cause famines,” Bode told Reuters.

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