What’s the best investment you could possibly have made with your money this year? We’ll give you some hints: you probably like your broccoli sauteed in it, vampires can’t stand it, and you should avoid eating it before a first date. Of course, we’re talking about…garlic! Yep, the plant of the year in China has seen its value increase exponentially: one kilo of garlic is now worth over 6 yuan wholesale, up 286 percent since March.
The thing is, you would have to hoard a whole LOT of it to make money: according to the Washington Post (via China Digital Times), that’s exactly what a bunch of “garlic speculators” have been doing.
From the Washington Post:
Jerry Lou, a Morgan Stanley China strategist who has researched the opaque market here, said speculators — fueled by the abundant liquidity sloshing around China — have moved into the small market and strategically driven up prices.
“You need a warehouse, a lot of cash and a few trucks. That’s how it works,” Lou said, describing garlic speculators’ tools of the trade. “Basically, what you do is try to arrest as much supply as possible, then you bid up the price. Moving garlic from one warehouse to the other, you make millions of dollars.”
Lou said garlic wholesalers told him that gangs that had amassed cash and credit from dealing property and stocks in other parts of the country had chosen the garlic market as their latest ruse.
Besides the blatant influence of speculators on the market, it seems garlic prices have had other reasons for soaring. China is the world’s largest exporter of garlic (the plant originated in Yunnan province), but last year cut its production in half. In addition, the clove is purportedly helpful in fending off the Swine Flu (can we please start calling it the Vampire Flu?). In any case, we’re going to start hoarding our own: we’ll be cashing in on it at the local market just before the garlic bubble pops.
Photo from Alibaba