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UN: The World Is Eating More Food Than It Is Growing

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Asia Sentinel reports that global food reserves are dropping:

The US, which experienced record heat waves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5 percent of corn (maize) stocks, the FAO warned, with prices rising to record levels during the crop failure. The US is the world's largest exporter.

Overall, food consumption has exceeded the amounts grown during six of the past 11 years, officials say, as the world has teetered on the edge of crisis only to recover somewhat. Countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption in 2002 years ago to under 74 days recently.

While analysts don't believe rising prices will trigger the kind of crises seen in 2008 and 2011, when the world faced structural deficits in wheat and rice, they are concerned that high prices are driving the world's poorest people out of their ability to feed themselves.

Rising prices are also sparking geopolitical competition as countries race to secure resources. A recent report from Chatham House argued that "resource insecurity has come back with a vengeance."

(Graphic: Chatham House)