Commodities: Sugar Binge

Few world commodities can excite international passions the way sugar does. Just a whisper that there would be a shortage (caused by a poor European crop and a drastic fall off in Cuban output) was enough to send sugar prices off on a speculative binge that in recent weeks shot the U.S. raw sugar price up to $13.20 per hundred pounds v. $6.60 in January. As everyone knew it had to, the bubble broke—and last week sugar prices came tumbling down to $10.50 by week's end, with no sign of slowing.

Because of sugar's peculiar marketing arrangements, the reaction in...

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