By Connor St. James, local reporter
The price of rubber in the UK has soared this week to record levels.
Leaf blight has infected rubber trees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the site of most of the world’s rubber plantations, since last October. Given that over 60% of rubber is synthetic and derives from petroleum, the leaf blight did not initially cause panic in the rubber industry. The onset of violent protests erupting across the Middle East due to President Donald Trump’s latest late-night Twitter session, however, is driving up the price of crude oil from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All available oil is stock being purchased by corporations and sovereign states with swift proficiency, especially after a United Nations spokesperson said last week ‘forget North Korea, Word War III will be the result of every Middle Eastern nation uniting against President Trump. Well, at least he can say he’s brought people together.’
This series of events seems to have caused a shortage of items such as car tyres and elastic bands, because no one had thought to stock up on both natural rubber and crude oil, and production of rubber-based items has plummeted. Prices of elastic bands in local stationery shops has increased exponentially over the last two months, with one rubber band now costing around £5.
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