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The prices of corn, cotton, and wheat have surged more than 50% over the past year – and it’s driving up the cost of everything from Coca-Cola to diapers

  • Futures contracts for corn are up 96% over the past year, while cotton and wheat have jumped 54% and 50%, respectively.
  • Consumer staples giants like Kimberly-Clark, J.M. Smucker, Proctor & Gamble, and General Mills are all raising prices in response.
  • The Fed said it won’t allow a “substantial overshoot” of its inflation targets in an April 8 letter.
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Commodity prices have soared over the last 12 months, and consumers are about to start feeling the effects.

Corn futures contracts are up 96% over the last year, while cotton and wheat futures contracts are up 54% and 50%, respectively.

Lumber is also on a tear, with prices rising over 265% in the past year to a record high of $1326 per thousand board feet on Monday.

The meteoric rise for commodities is beginning to have an effect on consumer staples companies, leading them to pass rising costs onto consumers.

Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey told CNBC on Monday that his company will raise prices for its products due to the increasing costs associated with higher commodity prices.

Leaders in the consumer staples sector, including Kimberly-Clark, J.M. Smucker, Proctor & Gamble, and General Mills, have also said they will be raising prices due to increasing costs for raw goods.

Prices on most of Kimberly-Clark’s North American products are set to jump by mid-to-high single digits by the end of June, according to reports from CNBC.

J.M. Smucker already raised its peanut butter prices back in August. CEO Mark Smucker told analysts in November that “it was very clear that we were experiencing cost pressure.”

General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening told investors on a March 24 earnings call that his company will also raise prices in the coming months amid inflation pressures.

“So I would start by saying that inflation is very broad-based, and it’s actually global. So we are seeing it across the globe and it’s broad-based across commodities, across logistics, across things like aluminum and steel,” Harmening said.

The CEO added that his company “will use all of the tools” at their disposal include and “price and mix” to offset costs.

Proctor & Gamble announced on Tuesday in its fiscal third-quarter results that it plans to hike prices for baby care, feminine care, and adult incontinence products in September to respond to higher commodity costs as well.

The rising price of commodities, and now of consumer goods, has some experts and even US Senators worried about inflation.

US Senator Rick Scott wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve’s Jerome Powell in March raising concerns about rising inflation and the central bank’s bond-buying program.

Jerome Powell has said that he plans to maintain “easy money” policies in spite of rising inflation over the past few months, but on Tuesday Reuters reported that Powell wrote in a letter to Scott that he won’t allow a “substantial overshoot” of inflation targets.

“We do not seek inflation that substantially exceeds 2 percent, nor do we seek inflation above 2 percent for a prolonged period,” Powell said in a five-page response to Scott’s March 24 letter.

If Powell does decide to raise interest rates to curb inflation, some experts warn the markets may not be ready for the results.

Mohamed El-Erian, the President of Queens’ College, Cambridge and chief economic adviser at Allianz, told Bloomberg in an April 9 interview that the US economy is unprepared for an interest rate shock.

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