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Counting the Cost

Gold: Going for broke

We look at the fallout from plummeting gold prices, a cola war in Thailand, and the fiscal issues bubbling in Egypt.

Last Modified: 20 Apr 2013 14:02
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The price of the famed yellow metal is plummeting, which is good news for buyers, but bad for the producers.

This week on Counting the Cost, we look at the global effects of gold's decline as the classic 'safe haven' for investors goes out of favour.

Who would have thought a tiny island in the Mediterranean could have been the trigger for the decline of gold? While it sounds a little far-fetched, the island in question - Cyprus - may be forced to sell its gold reserves to pay for its own bailout, raising the prospect of other eurozone nations being asked to do the same.

But while Cyprus may have been the trigger, it is a devalued currency, inflation, and money-printing which have all already undermined the precious yellow metal.

For more on the subject, we speak to John Greeve, the managing director of mining company Mutiny Gold from the capital of Western Australia, Perth.

Also this week, the aviation business comes into view as international airlines call for protection from growing Middle East carriers.

The rise of the Gulf airlines has raised a lot of competition concerns in Europe. Jean-Cyril Spinetta, the CEO of Air France KLM, even told the Financial Times: "If you compete with Gulf carriers in an open sky situation, it's sort of suicide. It means European air will disappear."

But this isn't the view all across Europe. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of Europe's biggest aviation players, International Airlines Group, explained his point of view, saying 'Bring on the competition!'

Next, we focus on an unstable Egypt, which is facing its most serious financial crisis in decades. It is not short on help now that four countries, including Qatar, have offered multi-billion dollar loans. Qatar's lifeline includes loans, deposits and purchases of government stock worth $8bn. But with one country potentially buying so much influence, some Egyptians are worried about the sovereignty of their own nation.

And finally, we see a return to the cola wars, but this time in Thailand, where a Pepsi takeover in a $1.5bn industry went wrong, opening the way for local local soft drink brand Est - and the competition is causing a revolution in the industry. 

Pragrom Prathoomboorn, a business analyst, says: "This is a case study for international business wanting to enter the Thai market. Most Thai business people stick together. Thailand is not against international business by nature. But culturally speaking, Thais do not take hostile takeover well."

 
Watch each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630. Click here for more Counting the Cost.

Follow Kamahl Santamaria @KamahlAJE and business editor Abid Ali @abidoliverali

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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