In the dead of winter, planting crops is the last thing on most people's minds. But droughts are still raging across the American Midwest, causing consternation among farmers about their prospects for the spring.
If conditions don't improve, food prices will likely remain high this year after a record 2012 for grain futures.
The U.S. National Weather Service released its drought forecast last week, showing persistent or worsening dryness in the Midwest and the southern third of the nation.
And as the Financial Times reports, "[grain futures] prices, still high, have steadied as traders take comfort in a large, impending Brazilian crop. But another dry year – or a surprisingly wet one – in the world's biggest grain exporter could end this period of calm."
Should clients adjust their portfolios in anticipation? This Advisor.ca article from 2008, the last time there was a major food crisis, advises factoring food and its associated costs into forecasts. It also suggests going long in agriculture companies and short on restaurant stocks.