Afternoon Coffee: World Coal Output Plummets, France Faces Butter Shortage

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Global coal production in 2016 declined the most it ever has, as China and the U.S. dug up less of the fuel and burned less of it for electricity, the Wall Street Journal reports. Last year coal comprised just 28% of the world’s energy production, marking a shift low-carbon fuels and renewable energy.

Butter Crisis 

Prices for croissants, brioche and the like are expected to rise quickly if a butter shortage is not soon remedied in France, according to the Guardian. Prices for the dairy product have soared 92% in a year and bakers are warning there is a strong chance they could soon run out of the ingredient. Bakers also told the Guardian they are appealing to supermarkets to charge consumers more and pass some of the increase on to suppliers.

Palm Oil

Higher-than-expected exports of palm oil from Malaysia caused stockpiles there to fall in May, Nikkei Asian Review writes, to their lowest point since March. Analysts said production may rise in the coming months while demand should taper off, causing inventory levels to actually rise for the second half of the year.

Retail Sales, Consumer Prices

And finally, an economic update: Retail sales took a dive in May and consumer prices unexpectedly fell, Reuters reports. Soft economic data and concerns about inflation may keep the U.S. Federal Reserve from raising interest rates during the second half of the year.

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