Y2K Worries Prompt Cargill To Avoid S. Africa

Friday, September 10, 1999
Cargill U.S.-based commodities giant Cargill Inc. has told South Africa it plans to avoid trading there from mid-December to mid-January because of worries over the country's preparations for the millennium bug, according to press reports. The group's South African subsidiary reportedly sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture in Pretoria, pointing to a "worst-case" assessment by a U.S. computer consultancy analyzing the risks of the bug. "We plan to avoid entering into or executing trades in maize, oilseeds, wheat or any other commodity in the period December 15 to January 15," the letter said. "Where we are a key supplier we will build stock positions with our customers prior to December 15 to provide them with sufficient material to operate until the end of January 2000." According to the letter, U.S. consultancy Gartner Group puts South Africa in a high-risk category for the bug, and that in the worst-case scenario its transport systems and government services could face 80 percent disruption.
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