Food has been speculated on the financial markets for a very long time. In December, water also became a commodity which can now be traded in the Wall St futures market. Now another basic of life is being speculated over for profit and private gain - oxygen, itself.
With most hospitals full, many Mexicans are battling COVID-19 oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators (devices that concentrate the oxygen from a gas supply, typically the air) have become scarce, as individuals and companies are taking advantage of the pandemic and selling or renting them at extremely high prices. Others are using the situation to fraudulently sell tanks without delivering them.
In Mexico City, people have been lining up for up to five hours to refill tanks, many of which only provide a few hours’ worth of oxygen. The demand for oxygen has grown by 700 percent over the past month. Oxygen products have roughly quadrupled in prices since November. Now some companies sell industrial oxygen tanks that aren’t medical grade and thus not fit for personal use.