Commodities giant Glencore profit soars

Swiss-based commodities giant Glencore said on Thursday its first half net profit soared 57 percent to $2.45 billion, boosted by strong commodities demand and prices.

“Underlying demand conditions for commodities remained generally robust during the period, despite a number of major disruptive events,” said Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive officer of the group.  

“We remain optimistic about long term global economic prospects and that the trends that underpin the growth of Glencores business are firmly in place,” he said.  

China and India would “continue to underpin the growth in global trade,” he added.  

While the sovereign debt crisis is of concern, Glasenberg said the group will look to minimising its adverse impact as well as “remaining alert to the potential opportunities that such an environment uncovers in our end markets.”  

Revenues for the six months to June rose 32 percent from first half 2010 to $92.1 billion due to “significantly higher average commodity prices for most of the commodities which Glencore produces and markets.”  

Average prices for Brent oil soared 42 percent, thermal coal rose 39 percent, wheat 38 percent, copper 32 percent and gold 26 percent, the group said.  

Glencore noted that German base metal demand was “particularly strong” during the period, lifted by stronger exports.  

Coal demand was also up, particularly in the aftermath of the Japanese nuclear disaster in March. 

“This was most noticeable in Germany where it was announced that 8.8 (Gigawatts) of nuclear power generation would be taken off-line for safety checks,” Glencore noted.


It’s official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

While anyone living in Switzerland might not have needed the reminder, a new study shows the cost of living in Switzerland is the highest of anywhere in the world.

It's official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

Switzerland topped the list well ahead of Norway in second place, with Iceland, Japan and Denmark rounding out the top five. 

The rankings, put together by CEO World magazine, took into account rent, groceries, purchasing power, restaurants and the cost of living in 132 countries across the globe. 

European countries featured prominently in the top 20, while countries in Asia and the Caribbean were also prominent. 

Switzerland top of the list

Not only did Switzerland top the overall list, but it also ranked highly in several individual metrics, making the cost of living there officially the highest in the world. 

READ: Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Switzerland

Groceries in Switzerland are also more expensive than anywhere in the world, ranking a full 30 points higher than second-placed South Korea. 

But if you’re looking to avoid the grocery shop, eating out in Switzerland is also more expensive than anywhere else in the world. 

The only bright light in the rankings is Switzerland’s national purchasing power – which is also top of the list – perhaps explaining why the Swiss love to travel or even just shop abroad. 

This is of course more beneficial elsewhere, with the benefits of the country’s excellent purchasing power somewhat eroded by high prices at home. 

Photo: CEO World

In fact, the only metric Switzerland doesn’t top is rental costs. That’s not to say renting in Switzerland is cheap, but it trails Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg on the international rent index. 

READ MORE: Eight things you need to know before renting in Switzerland 

Least expensive countries

Among the least expensive countries, central Asian nations rank highly. Pakistan is officially the least expensive, followed by Afghanistan, India and Syria. 

The least expensive European country on the list is Kosovo (124th) followed closely by Georgia (123rd). Romania is the least expensive European country on the list, in 99th place. 

Top ten most expensive countries as per CEO World magazine

1. Switzerland

2. Norway

3. Iceland

4. Japan

5. Denmark

6. Bahamas

7. Luxembourg

8. Israel

9. Singapore

10. South Korea