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The articles on this page were published first Thursday, Aug. 16, 2001

Eyes on money laundering operations

All you ever wanted to know about money laundering but were afraid to ask.
That's what Economic Perspectives, an electronic journal, has at its website.

According to one recent estimate, worldwide money laundering activity amounts to roughly $1 trillion a year, according to the publication, which added that these illicit funds allow criminals to finance a range of additional criminal activities. Moreover, money laundering abets corruption, distorts economic decision-making, aggravates social ills, and threatens the integrity of financial institutions, the editors said.

It should be no surprise that the journal is published by the U.S. State Department. A.M. Costa Rica readers can check out this complex issue with an eye to avoiding activities that might make them undeserving targets of international enforcement activities. Go to:

No good news on coffee

Coffee futures have hit a nine-year-low in New York due to increased Asian production and seasonal lower demand.

Although some coffee producers, including some here, have attempted to affect the world price by destroying portions of their crops, industry observers said that increased production from Vietnam more than offset the actions.

Vietnam is now the No. 2 coffee producer, while Brazil retains the No. 1 spot. Colombia is No. 3.

September coffee futures closed Friday at the New York Board of Trade at 50.40 cents per pound, the lowest point since 1992. In London, prices hit a 36-year low, according to Reuters News Service.

Coffee prices have been in a decline for two years, and Costa Rican prducers say that the price they get for the beans is only about 60 percent of what it costs to grow them.

Analysts are not optimistic, and some are predicting prices as low as 45 to 42 cents a pount on the world market. Vietnam produced about 13 million bags of coffee last year, and production may be increasing.

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