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Bread and protests: the return of high food prices

The International Institute for Strategic Studies has published its latest Strategic Comment.

Record food prices have been just one ingredient in the unrest in the Arab world. However, they are causing major concern across the globe for the second time in three years.

Structural shifts have led to a tightening of the international food-supply system, magnifying the effect of disruptive events such as weather-related crop failures in 2010. With no quick relief in sight, an era of cheap food appears to be over.

Demonstrators waving baguettes on the streets of Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen had already provided an illustration of the problem when the United Nations' food agency declared on 3 February that global food prices were at a new all-time high.

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