Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fertilizer Scarcity Threatens Agricultural Productivity (IPI; POT)

Since we posted "J.P. Morgan on POT : Way High" the stock went from $195 to $207 the day of the post and then dropped in the next two sessions to close at $181.49 yesterday. That's volatile:

Chart for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT)
Chart via Yahoo

Here's the story from Naked Capitalism:

Dear readers,

I will give more measured impressions of the Milken Conference in a day or so, when I it is over (we have another day, but the last day is far thinner in terms of offerings) and have had a day or so to reflect.

However, to give a highlight, a subtext was was that many pressing world problems had solutions (and better yet, private sector solutions).

Now as much as I like to opine broadly, I (hopefully) maintain a sense of proportion as to where I have good knowledge and where I am sticking my neck out, and try to advise readers when I know I may be sticking my neck out.

By contrast, Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize winner in economics (more accurately, The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, created by Sweden's central bank) maintained at the Monday and Tuesday lunch presentations (remember, meals have the biggest attendance and so will have the greatest impact) that unlike oil, the problem of agricultural price increases would be old news in a year or two because productivity of agriculture in the third world was so poor. All we need to do is get them to adopt even more advanced techniques). And that's great because all those people now working the fields will produce much greater GDP per head when they move to cities and free up the land.

At least today, another Nobel winner (was it Edmund Phelps of Columbia or Michael Spence of Stamford?) bothered pointing out that food is 60% of household spending in many parts of developing countries, that 50-100% prices in food means starvation and childhood malnutrition that can lead to permanently impairment....MORE