Wheat Soars; Rogers Sees 'Much Higher' Food Prices
The July rise in wheat prices, the fastest in 51 years, indicates that shortages in agriculture are coming, Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC.com Tuesday.
Wheat prices in Europe hit their highest level in two years, rising almost 50 percent since late June as Russia's wheat crop was affected by drought.
"That's the straw that broke the camel's back," Rogers, who has been warning about shortages coming in the agriculture sector for a while, said in a telephone interview.
"We're going to have much, much higher prices over the next few years," Rogers, a hedge-fund pioneer who started the Quantum Fund with George Soros in the 1970s, added.
Investors finally began to realize that prices for agricultural commodities have been too low for too long because of subsidies and other factors, which made agriculture an unattractive area for workers, he explained.
"Be prepared, if you have a sugar bowl home go fill it up because it's going to be more expensive," he said.
"Anybody who's got potentially good agriculture land and good weather" is likely to emerge a winner out of this situation because prices of nearly all agricultural commodities are set for steep rises, Rogers said.
"Prices aren't high enough and most people don't believe it," he said. "Unless prices are high you're not going to attract people in the business. Eventually people will go into farming again but it's going to take a while."
Shortages in agriculture are likely to add to problems created by governments who printed money to spend their way out of the financial crisis, according to Rogers.
"It's all happening at a time when governments are printing more money… it's a very dangerous situation," he said.
"When you print money, it's got to go in a place where it can protect itself, and that's real assets," he added.
Rogers is long commodities and he owns the yen , the Swiss franc and the euro . He said he just started shortingUS government bonds but that this is "a very small position."