UPDATED: iPredict takes bets on Marmite rationing; jar hits $64 on TradeMe

SPREAD THIN: At right, a shocking image supplied by keen NBR reader Hamish Rutherford (@oneforthedr). It was taken at New World, Newtown in Wellington. NBR correspondent Rob Hosking there are also Marmite-free shelves at a second New World in the capital, at Chaffers Park. 

Will supermarkets ration marmite? (And bear in mind the yeast extract has already appeared on Trade Me - creating a black market, if you will. Early Tuesday morning, bidding had hit $64.)

iPredict is taking bets on whether or not there will be rationing of Sanitarium Marmite at one or more of Progressive Enterprises or Foodstuffs’ Countdown, PAK'nSAVE, and/or New World supermarkets.

A contract began trading at 2.30pm yesterday. Early trading indicated less than a 35% probability, though sentiment was turning slowly but steadily in the direction of Marmite panic. By early Tuesday morning, 90% saw a probability of rationing.

iPredict Administrator Oliver Ibbetson says the launch of the contract follows statements by Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden that the company is running short on the iconic product after earthquake damage to its Christchurch plant stopped production.

While the company is confident production will be back to normal by mid-July and is urging consumers not to “freak out about it”, Mr van Heerden has urged them to ration the product and spread it on toast rather than bread, arguing that: "With toast, it's a little bit warmer so it spreads easier and it goes a little bit further."

The iPredict contract will pay $1 if, before 1 August 2012, Foodstuffs and/or Progressive Enterprises publicly announces, or confirms to iPredict, that restrictions are being placed on the amount of Marmite a customer may purchase on a single visit to a Countdown, PAK'nSAVE, and/or New World supermarket.

To pay $1, rationing needs to be implemented in only a single Countdown, PAK'nSAVE or New World supermarket, and confirmed by the relevant company, Foodstuffs and/or Progressive Enterprises.

The price of the contract at any given time will indicate the probability there will be rationing at a supermarket.

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vile horrible stuff...good riddance to it

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"The price of the contract at any given time will indicate the probability there will be rationing at a supermarket."? No, the price of the contract indicates nothing except proportionately how many people are *convinced* there will be rationing. That's not directly related to the actual probability that rationing will happen.

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Then go in and make money on the folks whose perceptions are out of line with what you know to be reality!

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Great free publicity for Sanitarium

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Hmm. That was meant as reply to @Anon 3:47. Apologies.

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Easy to rig this one. Most Pak'n'Save and New World are owner operated and they have authority over a lot of the business decisions. So one store rations for 1 day and the contract pays out a $.

The issue is that probaby the level of trading would make it a waste of time to do this.

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Anon 4.18

That is always an issue I have had with iPredict. What is their stance on insider trading.

I am sure Winston P was betting on himself to get thrown out of the house in 2012.

Likewise, retiring MPs could earn a few extra dollars out of their announcement. And don't say they wouldn't since they are well know for scalping, renting from themselves etc.

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That's sort of the point - people with inside knowledge drive the price up or down accordingly. Because of this, the price of the contract is meant to be an accurate predictor of whether or not a given event will occur.

I'm not going to check right now, but from memory iPredict's stance on insider trading is "the more the better".

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so one product which is deemed a luxury not a basic necesasity - try living on a few garins of rice!

http://www.3news.co.nz/Video-Slow-response-to-East-Africa-hunger-cost-li...

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so one product which is deemed a luxury not a basic necesasity creates a problem - try living on a few grains of rice a day !

http://www.3news.co.nz/Video-Slow-response-to-East-Africa-hunger-cost-li...

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A cruel, vicious blow to God's own. There only remains one wrong step with Hokey Pokey and that's it - our entire extended family's off to Oz.

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