Palestinian tobacco business faces threat

Workers harvest tobacco leaves near Jenin (Photo: Reuters) Former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who left office this month, struggled to counter rising poverty and unemployment rates, which are both now at around 25%. He resigned after widespread complaints over his handling of the economy and soaring costs of living. A new government is now in place, and in a meeting with reporters last week, Mohammed Mustafa, the deputy prime minister in charge of financial affairs, called the social challenges "very scary." "We are reviewing the economic policies of the last government to improve our citizens' situation and lighten the burden they're carrying," Mustafa said. The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace accords with Israel , will boost revenue by ensuring countries deliver pledged aid money - and enforcing tax collection, Mustafa said. But he acknowledged that 70% of PA revenues come from sources it cannot control, whether from abroad or at its own borders where Israel collects customs duties on the PA's behalf. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit,7340,L-4403019,00.html

A Tiny Tobacco Company Earning Big Profits

I'm not throwing in the towel, but it's going to be a short crop. It all depends on what the weather will be from here on out." North Carolina farmers planted 170,000 acres of tobacco in 2013, up 4 percent from 2012, said state Agriculture Department spokesman Brian Long. In Kentucky, burley growers planted an estimated 78,000 acres this year, a 4,000-acre increase from a year ago, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's field office in the state. Tobacco is known as a resilient crop, and the roots can dry out if the rain stops. But so much rain makes for a thinner crop that doesn't weigh as much as it should, and the marketing system is based on dollars per pounds. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit

Across tobacco country, crops wilt from rain

On average, the four major tobacco companies have an average quick ratio of 0.9, and Altria's debt is equal to more than three times shareholder equity. Unfortunately, due to large amounts of borrowing, Philip Morris has negative shareholder equity so a gearing ratio is impossible to calculate. Cash is king and value prevails Universal has many benefits over its peers, but one of the more important factors is the company's asset value per share, which currently stands at $44.80, with 35% of this, or $15.78 per share in cash. Currently, trading around their website $60.70 per share, Universal is trading at a P/B ration of 1.4 -- below the majority of its peers and approaching value territory. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit