Category Archives: Commodities

Is it time to break up the tech giants such as Facebook? | Larry Elliott

Amazon, Facebook and Google are as dominant as Standard Oil and AT&T were. But breaking them up is not going to be easy

In the first decade of the 20th century, Standard Oil was as mighty as the tech giants of Silicon Valley are today. The company had grown from a single refinery in Cleveland in 1863 to produce 87% of all US refined oil output. In 1911, the supreme court decided that Standard Oil was in breach of anti-trust legislation passed by Congress and ordered that the company be broken up.

Even before the data mining revelations that have engulfed Facebook, there was pressure in the US for similar action to be taken against the social media networking site and two other globally dominant companies – Google and Amazon – that have come from nowhere in the past two decades.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

UK is running out of gas, National Grid warns

Perfect storm of freezing weather and supply problems prompts rare call for more fuel immediately

National Grid has issued a warning that the UK will not have enough gas to meet demand on Thursday, as temperatures plummeted and imports were hit by outages.

It is thought unlikely that the situation will affect supply to households, but if enough extra gas supplies by pipeline or ship are not forthcoming, it could affect industrial users.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Are we heading for another developing world debt crisis? | Larry Elliott

Western bank loans for projects in Africa were to be paid off via rising commodity prices. At least that was the theory …

Global interest rates are rising. Poor countries are finding it tough to pay back money borrowed from banks in anticipation of a commodity windfall that never materialised. Stir in some dirty dealing that has seen funds stolen and what do you have? That’s right: the makings of another debt crisis.

Poor country debt was supposed to have been sorted back in 2005, the year the Guardian changed from a broadsheet to its Berliner format. Now, 13 years later, we are changing format again and debt is back albeit in a different form. Last time, the focus was on public debt, money that poor-country governments owed to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and individual rich nations – and which was mostly forgiven as a result of the Gleneagles G8 agreement in 2005. These days, the issue is private-sector debt and while as yet only a handful of countries – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa – are in serious trouble, the warning signs are there. The IMF and the World Bank both know it.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

A record-breaking year – the global economy in 10 charts

A stock market boom, a bitcoin bubble, trade indices at recent highs, a low fear factor, even eurozone GDP is rising. But 2017 hasn’t been all good
• The most-read business stories of 2017

Continue reading…
Source: gad