OBSERVATIONS ON SOCIAL UNREST IN EGYPT AND WEATHER IN THE US
By Roger Fredinburg
February 5, 2011
We are living is frightening times.
Suddenly Americans and the rest of the world are freaking out over things that once seemed perfectly normal.
Holy cow – It snows in the winter! What a shocker…
Here is an overview of the world this week.
General Info on Egypt:
80 million people in Egypt – the most populous country in the Arab world
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world – over 11 million tons annually
40% of Egyptians have to survive on $1.00 per day or less. There is likely enough food, but Egyptians simply can not afford it.
The price of grain has risen by around 40% in the past few months. Price hikes for other commodities has also risen sharply; rice and oil 26%; cheese, milk, and yogurt 17%
The Egyptian government does subsidize bread and other stapes for the poorer.
Food inflation in Egypt has reached 20% – amongst the highest rates globally according to a survey by Credit Suisse. Egyptians spend about 40% of their income on food versus about 17% for Brazilians and about 20% for Chinese and Saudi Arabians
It is estimated that the government shutdown of the Internet for several days has cost Egypt $90 million
Global Food Prices
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worldwide food price index is at an all-time high – surpassing its 2008 peak, when skyrocketing costs caused global rioting and pushed as many as 64 million people into poverty.
The price of oils, sugar, and cereals have all recently hit new peaks. Egypt is particularly hit hard as the world’s biggest importer of wheat.
Riots throughout the world were exacerbated by food prices in 1977 when the government cut food subsidies and again in 2008 when food prices hit their first peak.