(Fairbanks, Alaska) Speculators on the Arctic Natural Commodities Exchange (ANCE) pushed the price of virgin Arctic sea ice (ANCE symbol CICE) to $20/ton yesterday, continuing a price surge that hasn't been seen since the mosquito futures peak of $4 set during the drought of 1988.
"It's been crazy on the floor of the exchange", said native Inuit trader Nootaikok Sedna, locally known as "No-kok", wiping the frost from his nostrils. "Ever since the sea ice started receding twenty years ago, speculators have been pushing up the price in anticipation of a complete meltdown of the sea ice stock within the next few years."
Permafrost has also been in high demand, with a vigorous black market developing. "These commodities are especially risky investments because of the chance of buying into cheap, knock-off imitations….sea ice or soil that has been frozen artificially", explained Tuku. "It has gotten to where even some expert scientists have been fooled by the fakes."
In response to the current sea ice supply crisis, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. has been quietly buying up sea ice samples as part of a new "Arctic Memories" display that is currently being constructed.
The brisk trading has led to a large influx of cash in the traditionally subdued Inuit villages. The extra wealth has led to new propane heating equipment for living spaces, electric lighting from portable nuclear generating plants, and top-of-the-line snowmobiles for traditional activities such as polar bear hunting.
"Contrary to Wall Street, a 'bear market' up here is a good thing", said Mr. Tuku. "We realize the good times might only last a few more years - until the ice disappears - so some of us are grabbing all the gusto we can."
The extra wealth brought by the feverish commodities trading activity has also allowed some of the local residents to visit their favorite tourist destinations: Disney World in Florida, and Cozumel, Mexico.
"My personal favorite is Waikiki Beach," said No-kok. "I get there about three times a year. You can't 'walk on the water' like you can here in Alaska, but at least you don't have to spent an hour getting dressed in animal skins to enjoy yourself".
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