Welcome

In 1979, Dan Morgan, a journalist with the Washington Post, wrote Merchants of Grain, a definitive history of the international grain trade. In the 40 years since Dan’s book was published the grain markets have changed almost beyond recognition. So too have the merchants of grain. Once shadowy figures, grain merchants have now come out of the shadows.

Almost everything that you eat or drink today will contain something bought, stored, transported, processed, shipped, distributed or sold by one of the seven giants of the agricultural supply chain. The media often refers to them as the ABCD group of international grain-trading companies, with ABCD standing for ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus. The acronym, though, ignores the other three giants of the food supply: Glencore, COFCO International and Wilmar. Together, they handle 50 percent of the international trade in grain and oilseeds.

In this book’s series of exclusive and unprecedented interviews, CEOs and senior traders from these seven giants describe in their own words how the agricultural markets are changing, and how they are adapting to those changes.

This is the inside story of the grain market and of the seven companies at the centre of the world’s food supply.

Available on Amazon

Posts

Commodity Conversations Weekly Press Summary

The US is looking at resetting its tariff commitments under the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), or even exiting it altogether, according to sources who spoke with Bloomberg. The administration is reportedly blaming the WTO’s most-favored-nation (MFN) system for its trade deficit with areas like the EU and China but some analysts warn that US …

AgriCensus Report

OPINION: Will China purchase more US ag goods? 14 Feb 2020 | Jonathan Kingsman It is still too early to tell how badly – and for how long – the Coronavirus outbreak will affect the Chinese economy. But even before the virus hit, many grain traders were questioning whether China would, or could, honour the …

Cheap food and politics

As I wrote in a recent post, Stalin believed that the political and economic future of the Soviet Union lay in industrialisation. He set high prices for industrially produced goods and low prices for agriculturally produced goods in order to encourage a shift from agriculture to industry. He reasoned that surplus workers in the countryside …