From Volume 38, Issue 18 of EIR Online, Published May 6, 2011

Global Economic News

Egypt Moves Towards Food Self-Sufficiency

April 30 (EIRNS)—The new revolutionary government of Egypt is shifting its agricultural policy from liberalization towards food self-sufficiency according to an article in Al Ahram daily. Although the steps are small, due to lack of resources, they are nonetheless significant. The new Agriculture Minister Ayman Abu Hadid announced this week the government's intention to increase wheat production from 8 million to 9 million tons, to cover amount of wheat required to support the government's subsidized bread program, which is a major source of food for the vast majority of the population. They want to increase productivity per feddan (roughly 1 acre) 18 erdab (2.7 tons) to 24 erdab through increasing the use of fertilizer and other inputs. Still, Egypt has a long way to go towards achieving self-sufficiency in wheat and food.

The other significant move by the government is to begin confiscating the tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land sold to "developers" and speculators.

Former CEO of Leading Swiss Bank UBS Recommends Bank Separation

April 26 (EIRNS)—In an interview with state-run Swiss Radio on April 25, Peter Kurer, who was CEO of UBS until 2009, defended the new, however moderate regulations, for banking of his country, against their critics—which include the present UBS board of directors—adding that they are long overdue, and, ironically, serve to protect the banks against the consequences of their own dealings on the financial markets. But, Kurer added, more thought should go into the option of separating the commercial banking functions from the those in the investment branch. Although he did not use the term, "Glass-Steagall," that is what he implies. Kurer's remarks are just another prominent piece of evidence, that there is quite an intense debate about the issue throughout Europe.

However, it is also clear from the remarks that people like Kurer are making, that for the time being, nobody in Europe will push for a real in-depth banking reorganization, nobody will take the first step, and everybody is waiting for the United States to go first. One might well say that all of Europe is waiting for the U.S. Congress to act.

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