Greece Is The Word

20/02/12 -- Today is supposed to be the day that Greece gets its second bailout approved by Brussels. It feels like it will actually get pushed through at long last. If so, there's a list of concerns as long as your arm to follow, not the least of which surely has to be how are they going to push through with the austerity measures promised to obtain this EUR130 billion?

Another key issue is the target of getting it's debt-to-GDP ratio down to 120% by 2020. Am I the only one who suspects that in reality they won't be putting a lot of effort into achieving that particular goal? Why should a country that's cooked the books and lived well beyond it's means for the last decade worry about what might happen in eight years time?

Nevertheless, the euro is higher on the back of short-term optimism.

Other fresh news is thin on the ground with America closed for President's Day.

Ukraine's Ag Ministry say that the Black Sea nation has exported 12 MMT of grain so far this marketing year, an increase of 62% on last season. Wheat only accounts for a quarter of that total, with corn responsible for 58%. That's a big shift from a year ago when corn accounted for less than 30% of all grain exports as at this date.

Drought in the UK is suddenly all over the media as "parts of England struggle with groundwater levels lower than in 1976," say the BBC. There's an interesting map of the UK here from the Met Office, showing 2011 rainfall as a percent of normal.

The recent snow won't have helped too much as 10cm of the white stuff is only the equivalent of 1cm of rain, according to an expert that I've just heard on the radio. If we learnt anything from last year it should surely be not to write the crops off as lost just yet though.