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The Secret Financial Life of FoodFrom Commodities Markets to Supermarkets$
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Kara Newman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156714

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156714.001.0001

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The Commodity That Built a Nation

The Commodity That Built a Nation

Corn Futures

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter Three The Commodity That Built a Nation
Source:
The Secret Financial Life of Food
Author(s):

Kara Newman

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231156714.003.0003

This chapter traces the history of corn futures in the United States. Corn has had an enormous impact on both America's foodways and its economy. Speculators have aimed to profit from corn's ubiquity, trading not only corn futures but, at one point, high-fructose corn syrup futures as well. It is no wonder, then, that corn trades so ferociously today. Trading volume in corn futures regularly trumps any other food-based commodities trading in the United States, and in 2010, corn prices skyrocketed 45 percent, second only to coffee in terms of price inflation. The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is the largest futures market for corn, and there are plenty of other commodities markets around the world that also trade corn, from Brazil to Hungary, France, Japan, and Korea. This chapter looks at the geography of corn, the history of corn-based commodity exchanges, the use of corn for feeding cattle and other livestock, and how corn came to occupy a most conspicuous position in the grain trading world.

Keywords:   corn futures, corn, commodities trading, futures market, commodities market, commodity exchange, cattle, livestock, high-fructose corn syrup, United States

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