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Agriculture's Big Picture


AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.

Possible War in Korea and More World Headlines

May 20, 2010
Stocks are down across the world. Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.54%.
Crude oil dropped below $70/barrel.
New energy companies across Europe have benefited from a government subsidy. The subsidy is derived from a portion of each month’s energy bill to individual consumers. That’s being cut in light of the current economic crisis and it’s cutting into profits for renewable energy companies.
The crisis in Europe has devalued the euro, leading some to question the long-term viability of the currency. Now some experts are predicting that it has reached a new level of normalcy at its current depressed levels. Of course, this may not spell good things for U.S. agriculture exports due to the relatively higher value of our products in relation to the European countries.
The London Times is reporting this morning that there is a growing threat of a full-scale war between North and South Korea. It was confirmed this week that the sinking of a South Korean warship last month was the result of a torpedo attack from North Korea. If South Korea retaliates, which in my opinion it must certainly do, the North has said it will bring a full war between the two countries. With South Korea a major importer of U.S. agricultural products, it will be interesting to see how that impacts our export markets. So far, the Obama administration has taken a stand to support South Korea, according to the Washington newspaper The Hill.
A recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Japan is leading the government to drastic measures. The disease outbreak was confirmed in late April. The government has already pegged 118,000 animals for slaughter and that number could grow.
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