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Banking

Deutsche Bank criticized for resumed commodities trade

Development aid campaigners have sharply criticized Germany's Deutsche Bank for ending a moratorium on trading food commodity products. The lender has insisted its activities do not contribute to rising prices.

Anti-poverty campaigners on Monday criticized Deutsche Bank for abandoning a March 2012 moratorium on trading new food commodity products, saying that financial speculators helped artificially spike prices for vital for vital foods.

The London-based World Development Movement (WDM) said there was statistical evidence that price volatility was driven by financial speculation. "The biggest losers will be the poorest people on low income," WDM campaigner Heidi Chow said in a statement.

Germany's largest bank announced at the "Green Week" agricultural trade fair in Berlin last weekend that it planned to resume dealing in derivatives linked to food commodities as itself saw no conclusive evidence of speculators being responsible for rising prices of agricultural produce.

Conflicting interests

Deutsche Bank went as far as to say that such trading even offered a number of advantages. It maintained it allowed producers to hedge against future price fluctuation and served as a valuable gauge for demand.

#links'The lender's view was not shared by the Berlin-based consumer watchdog Foodwatch which said that enough evidence to the contrary was on the table and just needed to be studied carefully. "Deutsche Bank did not address our concerns, and this amounts to irresponsible management," said Foodwatch Executive Director Thilo Bode.

Faced with massive public criticism, Germany's second-biggest lender, Commerzbank, as well as a number of other domestic financial institutions announced last year they'd be pulling out of agricultural commodities trading, ceasing to offer such investment vehicles to their customers.

hg/ipj (AFP, Reuters)

DW.DE