The Milken Institute Global Conference started today in Los Angeles with talks given by some of the world’s leading financial luminaries on topics ranging from US recovery to world food prices and education spending. The speakers are experts from all over the world’s financial, investment and economic fields among others. While most of the heavy hitters will be speaking tomorrow, Jim Chanos and Hugh Hendry among others, some notable conferences took place this morning. One of today’s major conferences was reported on by Reuters today.
Former member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, Kevin Warsh, held a conference this morning on the central bank’s current policy and his vision of where the institution should go from here.The maven strongly stated that the Federal Reserve’s policy had been far too centered on the property market and that such a specialization would not aid the economy in the long run. He wants Bernanke to increase the base interest rate that has been held close to zero for some time. He also spoke on the importance of Washington’s response to the problem of the national debt.
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Warsh believes an adequate and decisive move by lawmakers to address the budget deficit and the country’s debt would give the Federal Reserve the freedom to explore other policies in order to address the problems mounting on the economy. Warsh was joined at the same panel discussion by Terence Duffy of the CME Group Inc (NASDAQ:CME) .
Duffy spoke at length about the future of commodities on world markets. He said commodity prices are on an upward trajectory driven by growth in emerging markets promising higher future demand. Of note were his opinions on food prices and natural gas. The changing economies of countries such as China are driving changes in the way food is consumed around the world. As an illustrative example he comments on the increased demand for soy beans as a food source for live stock in China. This is driven by demand from a growing middle class for more meat in their diets.
He also projected that the low price of natural gas would lead to a shift toward greater use in the fuel in the United States in a wide range of power producing situations.
The conference continues as we speak and we will continue to bring you news from the most important and most interesting speakers as it continues. Watch this space for more up to date coverage.