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Description:  You may find your voice doing funny things when you read this story: there’s a shortage of helium. This gas, that can change the pitch of your voice of course, is in short supply, and not for the first time. That bad news hits far more than those wanting inflated balloons. Helium gas, produced as part of the natural gas refining process, is used for many things, including semi-conductor manufacturing, scientific experiments, and for operating MRI machines.

Date:  April 9, 2019



Discussion points:

1) Have you heard about the helium crisis? Have you ever experienced it personally in any way? For instance, have any of the science labs at your school had shortages?

2) Do you think this type of shortage should be dealt with by the price incentives of supply and demand? Or, because of the medical and research benefits, do you think the government should intervene in the market in some way?

3) On pages 317-318 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making you can read about the Lower of Cost and Net Realizable Value rule. Would you expect companies holding inventory of helium to have any write-downs in the near future?

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