Global Investing

Deflation to jump the shark?

March 6, 2009

The recent spate of shark attacks on Australian beaches could mark a turning point in global deflation and signal a change in fortunes for some beleaguered emerging economies, if Nomura strategist Sean Darby is to be believed.

Speaking at a Nomura investors forum, Darby said a chance sighting of a shark on Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach three weeks ago made him realise that prices of grain and other soft commodities — punished of late by global recession fears — could be due for a rebound.

“I actually saw a shark on Bondi Beach and that made me wonder about the impact of La Nina and how there’s a severe drought around the world at a time when many farmers are finding it hard to access credit,” said the Hong Kong-based analyst.

The La Nina meteorological phenomenon has been blamed for bringing deep ocean creatures — such as sharks — closer to shore and also for a long-running drought that has hit farmers in Australia, China and North America.

Persistent drought could push food prices higher, potentially benefitting soft commodity-producing economies from Vietnam to Ukraine, Darby said.

“This is one area that could disrupt the picture of global deflation that bond markets have,” he said.

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