What's happening this week ... Commodity news in a nutshell ...
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The Independent Online

Eddie George and Monetary Policy Politburo review. May Day parade of city workers chanting: "Sell in May and go away" while carrying portraits of Soros, Branson, Greenspan, Leeson and Shirley Porter. Parade led by Lord Mayor with missile launchers and ballistic missiles. Look out, Frankfurt!


March consumer credit news. Money supply numbers. British Bankers Association first quarter lending figures. Lies, damn lies and wonky pie-charts.


Eyebrows will be raised when the rows of zeros resulting from the Royal Bank of Scotland's half billion pound sale of its international investment subsidiary to the Bank of New York is published. Cable & Wireless final figures. More cashing up as it sells its cables and concentrates on wirelessness, in the form of mobile phones. Chief executive Graham Wallace will have pounds 550m to add to profits of pounds 2bn. C&W owns half of One2One and is girding itself for a fight with Comcast, the American phone giant, which barged into Britain by snapping up MediaOne.


More phone news as Colt Telecom issues a report. This superbly managed company, whose awesomely handsome and brilliant executives are known throughout the world for their modesty and good humour, will wow us with the sheer majesty of their dynamic, flexible customer- driven market strategy and sense of social responsibility.


April New Car registrations. Also Freedom, the phone operator partly owned by Noel Edmonds, announces plan for free phone calls financed by in-call advertising. RT can reveal that the first advertising messages will come from SFO: "During this call please speak clearly, spelling out the names of shares about which you have privileged information and any corrupt brokers you may be dealing with, with dates and times of any insider dealing."

This week, we summarise the latest edition of Business Week (European edition) - 148 pages enlivened by mad graphics, weird adverts and pictures of bald, bespectacled people wearing costly clothes, looking moody and squinting at laptops...

* The government of Brazil is old-fashioned and useless. They ought to be more like Argentina. Or Peru. Brazilians take a delight in rejecting advice, particularly from Americans. They make Americans wait for ages to get a visa. They need to buck up their ideas.

* American technology is the best. Everyone thinks the Japanese are good with microchips but they are not as good as they think. When it comes to electronics, Europe is falling behind - except for Britain. In the technology stakes Britain is quite good. But not as good as America.

* The French are lazy. They have just brought in a law limiting working hours to 35 hours a week. They need to realise that the world does not owe them living.

* Germans are hard-working and make good trucks. There's a man called Kurt J Lauk who works for Daimler Benz. According to him: "It's great to have a boss who is emotional about trucks."

WILLIAM HAGUE plans to spend other people's money on public services and nationalised industries, making Lady Thatcher very angry.

GEORGE ROBERTSON plans to spend other people's money on blowing up public services and nationalised industries, making Lady Thatcher very happy.

STEPHEN BYERS plans to spend pounds 150m of other people's money bribing BMW to make Rovers in Birmingham. EU regulators may stop him, making Lady Thatcher more Eurosceptic than ever.

ANDREW TYLER, 13, spent pounds 2m of other people's money (mom and dad's) buying the former prime minister of Canada's furniture via the internet, making Lady Thatcher look relatively sane.

Sugar is still down, as is cocoa. Oil prices rose because the Americans are running down stocks and blowing up refineries. The Ivory Coast has stepped up gold production; but the Gold Coast is not allowed to produce ivory - which seems very unfair. New gold mines are springing up all over the place. So old gold mines are in trouble - especially in South Africa, where you just can't get the labour any more. There was a meeting to fix the price of natural rubber, but the producers fell out with each other, so rubber will get cheaper.