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By Bradley Gerrard | Published Jul 20, 2012

Morning papers: World braced for new food crisis

The world is facing a new food crisis as the worst US drought in more than 50 years pushes agricultural commodity prices to record highs, reports the Financial Times.

Corn and soyabean prices surged to record highs on Thursday, surpassing the peaks of the 2007-08 crisis that sparked food riots in more than 30 countries. Wheat prices are not yet at record levels but have rallied more than 50 per cent in five weeks, exceeding prices reached in the wake of Russia’s 2010 export ban.

ECB sees less risk in changing course

Why has the European Central Bank changed its mind? As The Wall Street Journal reported this week, the ECB - once an implacable opponent to forcing losses on senior bondholders even in the weakest banks - now thinks it might be a good idea, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In his only public comments on the matter this week, ECB president Mario Draghi noted that “the question of burden sharing with senior bondholders is evolving at the European level”.

LSE in merger talks with Singapore exchange

The London Stock Exchange Group is in talks with the owner of the Singapore exchange about a potential £7.2bn merger, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The British bourse, which pulled out of a £4.2bn merger with the owner of the Toronto stock exchange last year, is understood to have held a series of informal conversations with Singapore Exchange, its Asian rival, about a formal tie-up.

Portugal gets IMF approval for next bailout payment

Portugal will receive the latest tranche of its €78bn (£61.2bn) bailout, after the International Monetary Fund lauded Lisbon’s efforts to tame its deficit and reform its economy, reports The Guardian.

In the fourth review of the country’s rescue package, which it received in May 2011, the IMF says the government in Lisbon has made “strong” progress in complying with the demands of its lenders, and should be paid the next €1.48bn.

Microsoft in first loss as public company

Microsoft reported its first loss since becoming a public company in 1986 as it wrote down the value of its online business and deferred revenues expected when users upgrade to its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, reports the Financial Times.

The quarterly net loss of $492m (£313.4m), or 6 cents per share, compared with net income of $5.9bn, or 69 cents per share, in the same period last year.

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