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Goldman bankers get rich betting on food prices as millions starve

Published: January 21, 2013
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Source: The Independent

Goldman Sachs made more than a quarter of a billion pounds last year by speculating on food staples, reigniting the controversy over banks profiting from the global food crisis.

Less than a week after the Bank of England Governor, Sir Mervyn King, slapped Goldman Sachs on the wrist for attempting to save its UK employees millions of pounds in tax by delaying bonus payments, the investment bank faces fresh accusations that it is contributing to rising food prices.

Goldman made about $400m (£251m) in 2012 from investing its clients' money in a range of "soft commodities", from wheat and maize to coffee and sugar, according to an analysis for The Independent by the World Development Movement (WDM).

This contributed to the 68 per cent jump in profits for 2012 Goldman announced last week, allowing it to push up the average pay and bonus package of its bankers to £250,000.

The extent of Goldman's food speculation can be revealed after the UN warned that the world could face a major hunger crisis in 2013, after failed harvests in the US and Ukraine. Food prices surged last summer, with cereal prices hitting a record high in September.

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