Wednesday, 23 April 2008

News round-up: oil, rice and clothes

Sorry if you're here looking for stuff about our wood - I promise there'll be a post over the weekend, after we've been up there...

In the meantime...

The strike at Grangemouth refinery is all set for next week now, the talks broke down last night, as reported by the BBC. What amazes me is how it is not front page news - you have to dig down a bit to find it. I get the distinct feeling the media is under instructions/pressure to keep things quiet! Anyway, what certainly hasn't been reported in the UK media is the wider impact on oil supply: the Forties pipeline brings 700,000 barrels of oil a day (a little under 1% of global supply) in from the North Sea, and it needs services from Grangemouth to keep running. The same applies to a gas pipeline too. So when Grangemouth shuts, it's not just the 200,000 barrels a day it processes that is missing - it's much more! Full details on the expected closure of the Forties pipeline here. If you want more technical background, you can find it at TOD.

And in the world of food, rice prices hit another all-time high yesterday, and Wal-Mart has started rationing customers to four bags per visit after people started rushing to stock up. UPDATE: Happening in the UK too, apparently.

Finally, the price rises we've seen in food over the last year or two are now spreading into clothes, due to high cotton prices: The end of cheap clothes is near.

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