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The rand’s current weakness can be attributed to a myriad of structural problems facing South Africa’s economy. Reuters

Explainer: how currency markets work and why the South African rand is falling

Like any commodity, the value of the rand is determined by the market forces of supply and demand. Its weakening is also affected by a myriad of structural problems facing the South African economy.
Indonesia is turning to homegrown cattle for its beef needs, and cutting its Australian live imports. EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak/AAP Image

Lean times ahead for Australian cattle as Indonesia turns to domestic farming

Indonesia's shock decision to cut imports of Australian beef signals two things: Indonesia's desire to focus on domestic cattle farming, and Australia's lack of alternative options for exporting its own herd.
The Export-Import Bank provides financing and other services to help foreign companies buy US products like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Boeing 787 via www.shutterstock.com

Why Congress should keep the imperiled Export-Import Bank

The more than 80-year-old credit agency is set to expire at the end of the month if Congress does not act to keep the profitable bank alive.
Zambia’s success in building its food processing sector depends on tapping into procurement strategies of retail chains such as Shoprite. Reuters/Salim Henry

Can Zambia escape the clutches of the resource curse?

Zambia's drive to build its industrial capabilities has made steady progress. But it runs up against the history of economies that are dominated by mineral resources and landlocked countries.
A Chinese government image of soldiers on one of the built-up Spratly islands. mod.gov.cn

Exposing US hypocrisy on South China Sea island reclamation

The US is considering using warships and helicopters to pressure China into scaling back construction in the Spratly islands. But why is there one rule for China, and another for other nations?
Cannibalistic crabs are hard to hatch and rear, but researchers in Indonesia are finding ways to stop them from eating each other. alexsvirid/Shutterstock

How to raise tasty cannibal crabs

Do you like eating crabs? In Jakarta, enjoying the tasty crustaceans has become a hot trend, as more restaurants with names like The Holy Crab and Cut the Crab open up. Crabs are delicious delicacies…
When the construction phase of Queensland LNG projects like this one in Gladstone moves into production, there will be winners and losers. Dave Hunt/AAP

Why gas isn’t the answer to falling commodity prices or employment

The large Queensland liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects currently under construction will begin production over the next two years. Exploiting previously unused reserves of coal seam gas, the LNG produced…
Australia’s consumers are about to feel the pinch. Dan Peled/AAP

The Aussie dollar at US75 cents: good or bad?

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review last week, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens suggested the Australian dollar might fall to US75 cents in 2015. And he intimated that it wouldn’t be…
Angela Merkel has thus far closed her eyes to the need for more spending, at her country’s peril. Reuters

Germany may be the biggest loser if it doesn’t start spending

There’s growing pressure on Germany to spend more to support Europe – and for good reason. But it’s proving to be a hard sell to the country’s leaders. Germany’s budget is balanced and the government insists…
The Ranger uranium mine, inside the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. AAP Image/Tara Ravens

Queensland lifts its uranium ban, but is the price worth the cost?

As of today, Queensland has lifted a 32-year ban on uranium mining. That decision was taken within months of the 2012 state election, despite Premier Campbell Newman’s pre-election promise not to restart…
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping sign documents as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping look on. Alexey Druginyn/Ria Novosti/AAP

Australian LNG in the shadow of a global gas showdown

The US$400 billion gas deal signed between Russia’s giant state-owned corporation Gazprom and China last week is 16 times larger than its predessor in the supply of gas to China - a US$25 billion LNG project…

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