Portugal ran out of sugar this week. I am not making this up. No, it is not because everyone is baking for Christmas, although the seasonal baking spike did hasten the predicted shortage. On December 12, Portuguese media reported, “There is no sugar on the shelves of most supermarkets across the country. A surveillance done by the ‘Journal News’ in Porto, Lisbon, Braga, Aveiro, Viana and Tras-os-Montes brought confirmation: the shelves are empty and nobody knows when it will be replenished the supply. Since Thursday that some supermarkets have not received sugar and rationing does not appear to have been enough to prevent the collapse of stocks.”
Today, it is reported, “Portugal Tries to Prevent Sugar Hoarding Amid Shortage, FT Says”
“Portugal faces a sugar shortage, the first European country to find itself in this position in more than three decades, the Financial Times reported. Agriculture Minister Antonio Serrano asked people not to hoard the commodity after a breakdown in imports to refineries led to a run on supplies in the shops, the newspaper said. Global sugar prices have reached a 30-year high.”
I’ve been noting in my prophecy newsletter (sent by email) of the impact the adverse weather is taking on worldwide basic commodities. Wheat stocks globally have taken a hit as the last two years have seen a dramatic increase in drought and also UG99, a virulent wheat rust pestilence ruining 99% of crops it infects. Prices are derived from what is called a “basket” of basic commodities. The basket contains everyday products such as food, clothing, furniture and financial services. Prices on some of the basics are spiking dramatically, as anyone who has recently purchased milk, bread, eggs, cooking oil, or salt and sugar knows. But now the issue is not only of climbing prices, but a perfect storm (long in the making) of weather, price, unemployment, and shortages coming together to create a new climate of scarcity that has not been seen in First World countries for over 30 or 40 years.
Coffee is in a shortage, and that article asks the question as to whether it is time to start hoarding coffee beans. Cooking oil prices are spiking and there are reports of shortages (palm oil, too). Portugal’s sugar shortage was mentioned above, milk in in shortage in Serbia and Israel, among other places. Israel Faces Worst Butter Shortage In Country’s History. Britain’s egg production has declined by 50% and are in a shortage now. In India’s major rice production area, Bihar, production has declined 50% and spot shortages have appeared.
It’s not just food that is beginning to show strains of short supply. JP Morgan either knows or suspects something. This month it was revealed that the large global financial services firm was revealed as the secret buyer of 1 Billion dollars worth of copper, more than half of the entire copper on the London Metals Exchange. Things that make you go hmmm, for sure. The International Business Times wrote, that there is a “bullish scenario for copper: rising demand, tightening supply.” “Although it might lack the glamour of more heralded commodities like oil and gold, copper is a crucial component of industry and technology and its price typically reflects the health of the underlying global economy. To underscore the concern that the markets have about copper scarcity, consider that last week the British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported that a “mystery buyer” had acquired more than $1 billion of physical copper, representing more than 50 percent of all the metal stored in official London warehouses. It was subsequently reported that the mysterious buyer was none other than U.S. banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. While this action does not quite constitute “cornering the market,” it suggests how a handful of major players taking aggressive positions in the copper market (as well as certain other commodities like nickel and aluminum alloy). The Wall Street Journal reported that J.P. Morgan said it purchased the copper mostly on behalf of clients. Incidentally, the London Metal Exchange said that its warehouses currently hold about 350,000 tons of copper, down from 555,000 in February. Copper stockpiles have been in sharp decline all year, on schedule for the first annual drop since 2004.”
Edward Yardeni, Chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, said on Bloomberg TV that copper prices can double in 2011. He thinks there will be a shortage of copper. He calls copper a ‘rare earth metal’ because there are no substitutes for it in products like cars and home appliances. Speaking of rare earth metals, “In 1997, Deng Xiaoping, the former general secretary of the Communist Party in China, announced that China would be, for rare earth metals, what the Middle East was for oil. At the time, it seemed too distant a reality to draw much concern. A draft report form China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released late last month, however, could set off the alarm bells in boardrooms around the world.” China has in fact, cornered the rare earth metals market. The US Energy Department said in a report released today, that it “will Take 15 Years to Break Dependence on Chinese Metals“. We will have to rely on China for the majority of supplies. Since Xiaoping declared China’s intention all those years ago, they now in fact manufacture 93% of all rare earth metals, and can essentially hold the rest of the world hostage to a myriad of daily necessities.
So as you can see, the basic things we need to sustain our lives on earth are becoming scarce, hoarded, or cornered. There will still be wealth on the earth during the Tribulation, but it will be in the hands of the few. Revelation 18 is the judgment chapter, where the world’s false economy finally crumbles. It shows clearly that there had been a vigorous trade in luxury items, but only the wealthy could afford them. As for the poor, they scramble for bread while the oil and wine are not touched. (Rev 6:6)
In Revelation 18:3, we learn that “merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” In Revelation 18:11, sales are gone. Rev 8:12a, trade in valuable items are gone. Rev 18:12b, furniture trade is gone. In Revelation 18:13-14, agriculture of wine, olive oil and other luxury spices and fruit finally goes kaput. And so the rest of the chapter continues in like manner.
So you read of scarcity and shortages and indeed the weather and the Lord’s hand are certainly taking a toll. Death by famine will come for many millions (Rev 6:8). The rich won’t care. (Amos 5:11; James 5:4). Far from the supposed equitable shift in wealth that today’s socialists claim to want to make, in reality, there will be a massive shift in wealth but it will be from most of the world to a few in the world. The poor will die. The rich will laugh. The money transfer has begun. The wealth skew has begun. Shortages have begun. Are you ready?
The wealth of the world will be present during the tribulation but even the rich will weep in the end, for their wealth will have turned to rust (Mt 6:19; James 5:3; Rev 18:14). As for the poor, shortages and pathetic lives spent scrambling for a crumb awaits them. Born-again believers will have wealth unimaginable forever. We will have food and warmth and friendship and a banquet with the King.The grace of Jesus is that He allows you to choose your destiny.The high standard of living of the Church Age is declining. The wealth and luxury of the Tribulation age will be oh-so-fleeting. True wealth: JESUS, lasts forever. Decide soon!