Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Alex Breitinger column: Cyprus crisis ails euro; natural gas rises

8:26 PM, Mar. 22, 2013  |  Comments
  • Filed Under

The banking system in Cyprus continues to totter near collapse as Cypriot banks try to figure out a way to make up for deep losses they suffered by investing customer deposits in Greek bonds.

Cyprus has been pledged bailout funds from the European Union, but it is required to come up with as much as 5.8 billion euros ($7.54 billion) in matching funds on its own. So far, a variety of plans to come up with the money have failed, including hopes to sell off natural gas reserves to Russia, seizing up to 10 percent of investor bank deposits or nationalizing pension funds.

Banks in Cyprus have been closed since March 16 and some analysts fear that one resolution of this crisis could be that Cyprus leaves the Eurocurrency. Although the island nation has a population of less than one million, there are fears that Cyprus' exit from the Eurozone could set off a domino effect causing other indebted nations, such as Spain, Italy and Greece, to do the same.

During the last week the euro currency tumbled to a four-month low, hitting $1.2852 on Wednesday. In the last two months, the currency dropped in value by more than seven cents, or 5.1 percent.

Natural gas explodes

With slowing production and higher demand, natural gas prices soared upward in the past few weeks.

Recently, unseasonably cold weather increased consumption of natural gas by U.S. households to heat their homes. Additionally, the outlook for gas production turned downward as the number of U.S. natural gas drilling rigs dropped by a third since last year. Stronger consumption and lower production caused U.S. natural gas reserves to drop more than 20 percent from a year earlier.

Natural gas prices were at $4 per million British thermal units, up more than 80 cents, or 25 percent, during the last five weeks, and double the price since last year.

Corn pops

Concerns about low corn stockpiles pushed prices to a six-week high. Market analysts are citing stronger demand from ethanol plants, which use corn to make the fuel additive.

The United States has lower-than-usual corn stockpiles because of last year's drought and ensuing small harvest. As of midday Friday, corn for May delivery was $7.25 per bushel.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
576 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1018 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1272 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports

ORDER YOURS

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports