Heatwave threatens US harvest
An intense heatwave is threatening havoc with this year’s US grain harvest, burning up hopes of blockbuster yields and sending prices soaring. Even a modest reduction in crops could send ripples through global food commodities markets, as the US is the world’s top exporter of corn, soyabeans and wheat, and stocks of the first two are relatively low.

Total finds gas in Azerbaijan
Total, the French oil group, confirmed it had discovered huge reserves of natural gas in the Caspian Sea, underscoring Azerbaijan’s status as a potentially key source of future gas supplies to Europe.

Total said well results at its Absheron discovery offshore Azerbaijan indicated gas resources of 150bn to 300bn cubic metres, or 5tn-10tn cubic feet. The upper end of the estimate is nearly four times the UK’s annual gas consumption.

Dubai to refit QE2 as hotel
Dubai plans to refit the Queen Elizabeth 2 as a 300-room hotel, ending five years of uncertainty over the fate of the historic cruise liner. Since it was retired in late 2008 it has become a Dubai landmark.


Harry Potter firm buys Swiss rival
Bloomsbury Publishing said yesterday that it would pay £1.7m over three years to buy Applied Visual Arts Publishing, a Swiss-based publisher of textbooks for design and film students.

Airbus takes on rival
Europe’s biggest aircraft manufacturer is about to park in Boeing’s back yard after announcing that it will build its first assembly factory in the United States. Airbus will spend $600 million on a new facility in Mobile, Alabama, that will create more than 1,000 jobs.

The Daily Telegraph

Ulster Bank still hit by crisis
Up to 100,000 customers of Ulster Bank are still unable to access their money, as the IT crisis that crippled the RBS network stretched into its fourteenth day.

Microsoft to take $6.2bn writedown
Microsoft is to take a $6.2bn (£3.95bn) writedown to reflect the slump in value of its online services division. The charge reflects a writedown related to 2007 acquisition of aQuantive, a digital advertising firm aimed at helping Microsoft compete against Google and others.


Anglo American warns on revenue
Anglo American Platinum said yesterday that earnings for the first half of the year could be down as much as 20 per cent from the year before, hit by lower prices and a drop in sales.

Micron to acquire Elpida Memory
Micron Technology agreed to acquire troubled Japanese rival Elpida Memory for about $2.5bn, as the US memory maker bulks up to compete against rivals in South Korea and Taiwan. The deal would make Micron number two in the market for memory chips, second only to Samsung.