Notes feb 25 2008
February 25, 2008 § Leave a comment
BBC – The rising price of cereals such as wheat and maize is a “major global concern”, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says.
Poor countries could see their cereal import bill rise by more than a third. Africa as a whole is expected to see an estimated 49% increase this year.
International wheat prices have risen 83% in the past 12 months.
Demand from emerging countries such as China, and droughts and flooding have pushed cereal prices to record highs.
IHT – Even as it enriches Arab rulers, the recent oil-price boom is helping to propel an extraordinary rise in the cost of food and other basic goods that is squeezing this region’s middle class and setting off strikes, demonstrations and occasional riots from Morocco to the Gulf.
In Jordan, the soaring price of oil led the government to remove almost all its costly fuel subsidies this month, pushing the price of some fuels up 76 percent overnight. In a devastating domino effect, the cost of basic foods like eggs, potatoes and cucumbers doubled or more.
In Saudi Arabia, where the inflation rate had been virtually zero for a decade, it has reached an official level of 6.5 percent, though unofficial estimates put it much higher. Public protests and boycotts have followed, and 19 prominent clerics posted an unusual statement on the Internet in December warning of a crisis that would cause “theft, cheating, armed robbery and resentment between rich and poor.”