As global markets converge, it becomes more important for investors to keep track of world events. That's easier said than done, of course. It's hard enough keeping tabs on our own markets, let alone what's happening with Brazil's Bovespa exchange.
But don't despair. With the help of the 100,000 investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, we'll summarize notable global-market stories to help you stay abreast of events affecting your portfolio.
The silent tsunami of rising global food prices continues to gain steam. Thailand announced that it wishes to form a rice cartel with neighbors Laos, Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Talks have already begun among the countries, and with Thailand -- the world's largest rice exporter -- taking the lead, the possibility of an OPEC-like rice cartel is very real.
Rice prices have tripled this year, putting the pinch on consumers in regions where rice is a diet staple. If rice gets even more expensive, we could see more food riots like those taking place in Haiti, Cameroon, and Indonesia in recent months. Widespread food riots are a very real threat to governments. Going back in history, there was the French Revolution, and skipping right up to today, we see that President Bush has asked Congress to approve $770 million in global food aid.
Investors in Asian emerging markets should definitely keep their eyes on food prices.
Notable five-star Asian stocks sold via American depositary receipts include Giant Interactive
May Day was celebrated yesterday in Cuba for the second time without Fidel Castro at the country's helm. While the Cuban embargo shows little chance of ending anytime soon, Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and replacement, has undertaken some pro-market economic measures, including encouraging private enterprise in agriculture. Moreover, Raul has allowed Cubans to own imported consumer goods such as computers and DVDs, which had previously been banned. This means little to U.S. businesses, of course, but it could provide a sales boost for European businesses with interests in the region, like Unilever
In other May Day news, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced yesterday that the country had nationalized its energy and telecom industries. This is bad news for BP
What do you think?
Will rice prices continue to soar? Will we be able to travel legally to Cuba this century? Let your thoughts on the global markets be heard on Motley Fool CAPS, where 100,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so what are you waiting for?