Global roundup 360: 12th January

International coffee price to plummet

As the second most traded commodity in the world after oil, the coffee industry is big business, however, due to unusual weather conditions, its price is falling.
In Brazil, the country that produces the largest proportion of the world’s coffee, a long rainy season has led to a surplus of the crop.

This has pushed commodity prices down as supply has rapidly outstripped demand. The fall in value of the commodity has also been linked to the depreciation of the Brazilian exchange rate, which has dropped to a 12 year low. While this may be welcome to the consumer, it’s bad news for coffee farmers who now have to sell their product at a significantly lower price, and is of particular concern to many countries who rely heavily on the export of the beans as a major element of their economy.

It’s also uncertain as to whether major coffee retailers will pass on these savings, as the effect is yet to be seen in the price of a cup of coffee in high street cafés.

Natalie Froome

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Islamic State militant executes own mother

An Islamic State militant has publicly executed his own mother after she asked him to abandon the group and flee Syria, reports are suggesting.

Twenty-one year old Ali Saqr apparently shot his mother, forty-five year old Lena as-Qasem, at point-blank range outside the post office in the Islamic State strong hold of Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital city of the group since mid 2013.

According to the UK based Syrian monitoring organisation, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, Lena told her son that she believed the US led coalition of air strikes against the militant group would ‘wipe out’ the militia, and begged her son to flee the area with her. Her son informed the leaders of the group of his mother’s comments, they then ordered her execution.

This is the latest in a series of a reported 2,000 Islamic State executions, the reasons for which range from homosexuality to the alleged practice of magic.

Caitlin Doherty

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China trading closed as Osborne doubts British economic safety

The Chinese stock market was forced to suspend trading for two consecutive days with the implementation of it’s new ‘circuit breaker’ stock checking system which is supposed to stop share value falling below seven per cent. The uncertainty sent the global economic markets into turmoil.

The mechanism has been in place since January 1st, and has so far been activated twice; on Thursday January 7th, it was activated within half an hour of trading, giving China their shortest trading day in more than twenty five years.

As a result of these shut downs, analysts have criticised the circuit breaker system as being counter productive, given that it has done more harm to both the Chinese and the world markets than good. As a result of these judgements, the Chinese authorities have decided to abandon the system.

This uncertain start to the New Year comes as George Osborne unveiled his latest predictions for the British economy. He reiterated that the country should not consider itself out of economic trouble, despite a recent rise in nationwide employment and the upcoming rise in minimum wage, given that Britain still faces a “cocktail of economic threats” like international instability, such as that exhibited in China this week.

Angus McCain


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