Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bird flu futures

Yep, that's right, there is a bird flu futures market now.

Organizers hope to recruit at least 100 epidemiologists, veterinarians and other medical experts from around the world for the two-year project. They will be asked to join an online trading system akin to agricultural futures markets, in which investor buys contracts that businesses will be able to deliver certain volumes of, say, corn or pork bellies.

But in this project, the contracts represent not the likelihood of a good corn harvest but the odds that deadly bird flu will infect a human in Hong Kong by July 1.

"Yes" contracts on that prediction are currently trading at 43 cents. That means the experts think there's a 43 percent chance of that occurring.

You can't join in on this futures market, as it is only for the "experts" and designed to be a predictive indicator for the bird flu. Too bad, because there ain't quite anything like betting on the death of an anonnymous person in Hoong Kong.

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