- U.S. government forecasters predict a more than 65% chance for an El Niño weather phenomenon by the end of the year, a development that threatens to drive up prices for food and other staples.
- El Niño has a reputation for triggering sharp run-ups for prices in markets as diverse as nickel, coffee and soybeans, and commodities investors, traders and analysts are bracing for impact at a time when global supplies of many raw materials already are stretched.
- Global food prices - which at the start of 2014 were expected to be largely flat this year - could easily climb 15% to record highs in as a little as three months after an El Niño occurs, says World Bank economist James Baffes.
- But Société Générale analysts say it is miners, not farmers, who have the most to worry about; since 1991, nickel prices rose the most (13.9%) during El Niño years among commodities the bank tracks.
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Markets brace for El Niño, which has historically led to higher food prices
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