#Global #Markets | 24 Apr

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Time Data/Event Previous Consensus
0130GMT Australia Inflation Rate QoQ Q1 0.6% 0.5%
0130GMT Australia Inflation Rate YoY Q1 1.9% 2.0%
0430GMT Japan All Industry Activity Index MoM FEB -1.8% 0.1%
0500GMT Japan Leading Economic Index Final FEB 105.6 105.8
0500GMT Japan Coincident Index Final FEB 114.9 117.5
0800GMT Germany Ifo Business Climate APR 114.7 102.7
0830GMT UK Public Sector Net Borrowing MAR £0.27B
1000GMT UK CBI Industrial Trends Orders APR 4 6
1000GMT UK CBI Business Optimism Index Q2 13
1300GMT US House Price Index MoM FEB 0.8% 0.5%
1300GMT US S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price MoM FEB 0.3%
1300GMT US S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price YoY FEB 6.4% 6.3%
1400GMT US Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index APR 15 16
1400GMT US CB Consumer Confidence APR 127.7 126
1400GMT US New Home Sales MoM MAR -0.6% 1.9%
1400GMT US New Home Sales MAR 0.618M 0.63M
1530GMT US 52-Week Bill Auction 2.1%
1530GMT US 4-Week Bill Auction 1.6%
1700GMT US 2-Year Note Auction 2.3%
2030GMT US API Crude Oil Stock Change 20/APR -1.047M

#Africa #Markets | 23 Apr

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Asia stocks struggle with rising yields; oil stays high
  • US earnings season heats up with major tech names due
  • PMI surveys to help judge if Q1 slowdown was temporary
  • Rising Treasury yields rattle stocks, underpin dollar
  • Oil prices just off peaks, lift inflation expectations

Oil Markets

  • Oil prices dip on rising US rig count, but overall sentiment remains bullish
  • US rig count rises to 820, highest since March 2015
  • But strong demand, OPEC cuts still support prices overall
  • Brent crude oil futures down 0.3 pct at $73.87 per barrel (0031GMT)
  • US WTI crude futures down 0.3 pct at $68.17 a barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold slips to 2-week low as rising bond yields support dollar
  • Spot gold down 0.1 pct at $1,333.20 per ounce (0051GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.2 pct at $1,335.50 per ounce

Grains

  • Wheat prices jump 1 pct as US rains bring only limited relief
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures up 1 pct at $4.82 per bushel (0118GMT)
  • Most active corn futures up 0.7 pct at $3.79 per bushel
  • Most active soybean futures up 0.2 pct at $10.42 per bushel
  • Most active rice futures down 0.1 pct at $12.98 per hundredweight

Soft commodities (20 Apr)

  • Cocoa retreats from highs on weak N.American grind data
  • July New York cocoa settled down 2.5 pct at $2,729 per tonne
  • July London cocoa settled down 2.6 pct at £1,829 per tonne
  • May raw sugar closed down 0.9 pct at 11.64 cents per lb
  • August white sugar settled down 0.2 pct at $342.40 per tonne
  • July arabica coffee settled down 1.3 pct at $1.177 per lb
  • July robusta coffee settled up 1.3 pct at $1.177 per lb

Key African events or data releases this week
[Posts & comments at my Twitter handle @DrRafiqRaji]

  • South Africa PPI data for Mar-18 due on 26 Apr [fcst. 4.1% yy, prev. 4.2%]
  • South Africa M3 data for Mar-18 due on 30 Apr [fcst. 5.3% yy, prev. 6.9%]
  • Kenya inflation data for Apr-18 expected on 30 Apr [fcst. 3.1% yy, prev. 4.2%]
  • Uganda inflation data for Apr-18 expected on 30 Apr [fcst. 2.0% yy, prev. 2.0%]

Key African events or data releases over the weekend & early a.m today
[Posted & commented on some headlines below at my Twitter handle @DrRafiqRaji]

  • IMF says Congo Republic will get deal once conditions met
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa flies in to try and quel northern protests
  • Ghana’s 91-day bill yield dips to 13.33 pct
  • DP World should rethink port deals in Somalia – foreign minister
  • Morocco and EU start talks on new fisheries deal
  • MTN picks lead managers for Nigerian unit’s IPO
  • Steinhoff faces shareholders as it battles to stay afloat
  • US army trainers try to build West Africa defences against jihad
  • Old Mutual, Nedbank sign managed separation agreement
  • Africa Crude – Nigerian programme surface, spot trading quiet
  • Kenya’s Microsoft-backed Mawingu aims to triple broadband users
  • Botswana president urges Congo’s Kabila not to stand again
  • Introduction of minimum wage in South Africa delayed, ministry says
  • Britain wants Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth, but eyes July election
  • Libya to cover 2018 grain needs with imports, eyes higher harvest
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa visits province beset by violent protests
  • Mauritius 91-day treasury bill yield rises to 3.58 pct
  • Wartorn South Sudan’s army chief dies
  • Zimbabwe’s parliament orders Mugabe to answer questions over diamonds
  • Congo Republic says it has agreed a deal with IMF
  • Food prices lift Morocco’s annual inflation to 2.5 pct y/y in March
  • Yields mostly lower at undersubscribed South African CPI-linked bond auction
  • France expels radical imaam to Algeria
  • South Africa’s 3-mth t-bill average yield dips to 7.14 percent
  • Angola opens bids for Cobalt’s former oil blocks
  • Burundi replaces foreign minister with ex-head of ruling party youth wing
  • Libyan oil pipeline attacked by ‘terrorist group’ – source
  • Macro calls Sisi to discuss Syrian crisis
  • Tunisia reopens consulate in Libyan capital Tripoli
  • Madagascar police fire teargas at opposition protests
  • Egypt aims for $10 bln foreign investment in oil, gas in 2018/19
  • Algeria says current global oil price ‘fair’ – state firm CEO
  • Foreign investment in Egypt’s petroleum sector about $10 bln in FY/2017/18
  • Zimbabwe nurses end strike, challenge dismissal in court

N.B. Full stories of above headlines are available on Reuters

#Global #Markets | 23 Apr

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Time Data/Event Previous Consensus
0030GMT Japan Nikkei Manufacturing PMI Flash APR 53.2 53.4
0730GMT Germany Markit Composite PMI Flash APR 55.1 54.8
0730GMT Germany Markit Manufacturing PMI Flash APR 58.2 57.5
0730GMT Germany Markit Services PMI Flash APR 53.9 53.7
0800GMT Euro Area Markit Composite PMI Flash APR 55.2 54.9
0800GMT Euro Area Markit Manufacturing PMI Flash APR 56.6 56.6
0800GMT Euro Area Markit Services PMI Flash APR 54.9 54.6
0900GMT Euro Area Government Budget to GDP 2017 -1.5%
0900GMT Euro Area Government Debt to GDP 2017 88.9%
1230GMT US Chicago Fed National Activity Index MAR 0.88 0.27
1345GMT US Markit Composite PMI Flash APR 54.2 55.3
1345GMT US Markit Manufacturing PMI Flash APR 55.6 55
1345GMT US Markit Services PMI Flash APR 54.0 54.0
1400GMT US Existing Home Sales MoM MAR 3.0% 0.2%
1400GMT US Existing Home Sales MAR 5.54M 5.55M
1530GMT US 3-Month Bill Auction 1.76%
1530GMT US 6-Month Bill Auction 1.95%

macroafricaintel Weekly | 23 Apr [Update with PDF version]

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Kindly click on link for PDF version

Date Data / Event Period Forecast Previous
26 Apr South Africa PPI, % yy (mm) Mar 2018 4.1 (0.3) 4.2 (-0.3)
30 Apr South Africa M3, % yy Mar 2018 5.3 6.9
30 Apr Kenya CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.1 (0.7) 4.2 (1.4)
Uganda CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 2.0 (0.5) 2.0 (0.5)
Seychelles CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 4.2 (0.2) 4.7 (0.0)
Tanzania CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.9 (0.5) 3.9 (1.2)
Botswana CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 2.3 (0.3) 2.8 (0.1)
Namibia CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.4 (0.2) 3.5 (0.1)
Nigeria CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 12.2 (0.6) 13.3 (0.8)
Ghana CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 9.6 (0.9) 10.4 (1.1)
South Africa CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.9 (0.2) 3.8 (0.4)
Ethiopia CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 14.4 (0.9) 15.2 (1.6)
Mauritius CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 6.4 (0.6) 6.7 (0.6)
Zambia CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 7.5 (0.7) 7.1 (1.3)

macroafricaintel Weekly | 23 Apr

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Date Data / Event Period Forecast Previous
26 Apr South Africa PPI, % yy (mm) Mar 2018 4.1 (0.3) 4.2 (-0.3)
30 Apr South Africa M3, % yy Mar 2018 5.3 6.9
30 Apr Kenya CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.1 (0.7) 4.2 (1.4)
Uganda CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 2.0 (0.5) 2.0 (0.5)
Seychelles CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 4.2 (0.2) 4.7 (0.0)
Tanzania CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.9 (0.5) 3.9 (1.2)
Botswana CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 2.3 (0.3) 2.8 (0.1)
Namibia CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.4 (0.2) 3.5 (0.1)
Nigeria CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 12.2 (0.6) 13.3 (0.8)
Ghana CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 9.6 (0.9) 10.4 (1.1)
South Africa CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 3.9 (0.2) 3.8 (0.4)
Ethiopia CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 14.4 (0.9) 15.2 (1.6)
Mauritius CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 6.4 (0.6) 6.7 (0.6)
Zambia CPI, % yy (mm) Apr 2018 7.5 (0.7) 7.1 (1.3)

macroafricaintel | Tax social media at your peril

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

African countries have low tax bases not necessarily because their authorities do not desire the revenue but often due to the cost of acquiring it. With significant portions of their populations in the informal economy, there are not many options available to tax authorities to assess income. More financial inclusion should make their jobs easier over time. But what about now? The ubiquity of mobile phones, smartphones especially, and the proliferation of social media, could be a less expensive means by which to assess how much people earn. Oftentimes, it is not that citizens do not wish to pay tax. But dealing with public institutions in most African countries is not only sometimes frustrating but potentially punitive.

Authorities are better off just taxing their citizens’ consumption. Value-added tax (VAT) tends to be an effective tool in this regard. In some African countries, the telecommunication sector tends to be either exempt from VAT or allowed concessionary rates to engender digital inclusion. Considering how endeared many are to their mobile phones, any measure that makes it more expensive to use them could be politically costly, however. When Nigeria, a country where there is extreme sensitivity to any measure that could potentially stifle internet freedom, first flirted with the idea of a “communication services tax”, the uproar was deafening. But with almost $800 million in potential annual revenue, it was too tempting a proposition for the authorities. Some African authorities are not as encumbered. At least, so it seemed at first.

In March, Uganda announced a so-called social media tax. Not that the authorities did not already tax voice and data communications. But they did not tax data usage as much as they did phone calls. Planned for July, data usage on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype and Viber would be taxed more; according to the proposal then. The move was motivated in part because of the authorities’ strained finances, it seems. Volatile and hitherto low commodity prices are one of the reasons why. Burgeoning debt stocks and disproportionate portions of revenue used to service them, are another. Consequently, African tax authorities have little choice to but to seek new ways to raise more revenue.

Touching a nerve
Many African authorities have been looking to tax the purchase of data for internet use by their citizens more heavily for a while now. The potential revenue figures are eye-watering certainly. But there is another motivation, it is believed. Some African authorities, increasingly irritated by criticisms on the internet, might not mind that the social media habits of their citizens be a little bit more expensive. Take the Ugandan example; President Yoweri Museveni was not shy about his desire to make gossip via social media a very dear endeavour via the new digital taxes he mooted. Not that the authorities do not already assert some form of control over social media and other forms of internet usage. Like China, African authorities are becoming adept at switching off the internet, making it slow, or restricting its usage, during crucial politically sensitive events like elections, protests and so on.

But higher taxation on internet usage could be a more effective and less expensive way to do that for the authorities with such aims. Since if the habit weighs on the purse, people are likely to choose the words they publish on social media more carefully of their own volition. Public opinion would definitely be stifled as a result. But there is also the possiblity that the proliferation of fake news might reduce. Perhaps then, it is only a matter of time before other African countries begin to flirt with Mr Museveni’s idea. Even so, there are limits to how far the authorities can push the envelope. Because unlike the quasi-dictatorships cloaked in democratic garments in countries like Uganda and Rwanda, some African leaders, especially those with crucial elections to win, can ill-afford to alienate citizens.

Resist
Turns out Mr Museveni is not totally insensitive to public opinion: he has shelved the planned social media tax. In fact, his government now says no such proposal was ever made: “There is nothing like social media tax. There is no such proposal. That is not what the president proposed. No one will tax you for using WhatsApp and Facebook”, says Ugandan information minister Frank Tumwebaze. Is Mr Museveni’s counterpart in Tanzania, John Magufuli, who recently ordered that bloggers pay a $930 fee to legally do what is ideally free, likely to be similarly sensitive? No matter. He will fail.

#Africa #Markets | 20 Apr

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Asia shares hit by tech warning, oil holds near highs
  • Tech shares follow Apple lower after chipmaker warning
  • Oil prices just off highs, supported as supply tightens
  • Inflation unease pushes up long-term bond yields
  • Sterling skids after BoE’s Carney sounds dovish

Oil Markets

  • Oil remains close to late-2014 highs as ongoing supply cuts reduce inventories
  • Brent, WTI this week reached highest levels since November 2014
  • Tighter crude market feeding into refined products
  • Rising US production is one of the few factors holding crude back
  • Brent crude futures down 9 cents at $73.69 per barrel (0129GM)
  • US WTI crude futures down 7 cents at $68.22 a barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold prices inch down as global political tensions ease
  • Spot gold down 0.1 pct at $1,344.20 an ounce (0044GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.2 pct at $1,346.60 an ounce

Grains

  • Wheat edges lower, set to finish the week up nearly 4 percent
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures down 0.2 pct at $4.90 per bushel
  • Most active corn futures down 0.1 pct at $3.81-1/2 a bushel
  • Most active soybean futures down 0.1 pct at $10.48-1/4 a bushel
  • Most active rice futurues down 0.4 pct at $13.03 per hundredweight

Soft commodities (19 Apr)

  • Cocoa hovers below 2016 highs, NY premium over London at record
  • July New York cocoa settled down 0.04 pct at $2,799 per tonne
  • July London cocoa settled up 0.2 pct at £1,878 per tonne
  • July arabica coffee settled down 0.8 pct at $1.1625 per lb
  • July robusta coffee settled down 0.3 pct at $1,767 per tonne
  • July raw sugar settled upp 0.3 pct at 11.95 cents per lb
  • August white sugar settled up 0.6 pct at $343.20 per tonne

Key African events or data releases today
[Posts & comments at my Twitter handle @DrRafiqRaji]

  • Commonwealth head of government meeting (CHOGM) in London continues (16-20 April)
  • IMF spring meetings continue in Washington DC

Key African events or data releases yesterday & early a.m today

[Posted & commented on some headlines below at my Twitter handle @DrRafiqRaji]

  • UK, African ministers set to discuss Zimbabwe’s possible readmittance to Commonwealth
  • Rockets hit airport in Libya’s capital, damaging passenger jet
  • Ex-Liberian warlord ‘Jungle Jabbah’ gets 30 years in US prison
  • Sudan’s president sacks foreign minister – state news agency
  • Senegal capital erupts in protest over new election law
  • South African govt questions Transnet CFO’s resignation
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa cuts short Britain trip to deal with protests at home
  • South Africa to charge Zuma’s son over car crash death
  • Kenya suspends land allocation as nine injured in attacks
  • Africa’s last absolute monarch renames Swaziland as “eSwatini”
  • Rockets hit Libya airport as UN, French officials visit to talk peace
  • Buhari remarks on young Nigerians’ work ethic stirs social media storm
  • Gabon to invest $277 million in fibre optic network
  • South Africa’s rand steady in quiet trade, stocks falter
  • Congo Republic still not ready for IMF deal despite pledged reforms
  • Africa Crude – More Nigerian programmes emerge, Vitol wins IOC tender
  • Yields on Kenya’s 182-day t-bill dips at auction
  • European Invesment Bank, AfDB back new Nigerian lender
  • South African bank Absa denies being liable for damages over Steinhoff
  • South Africa’s public servants union in wage dispute with govt
  • Mauritius 3-year treasury bond yield rises to 4.26 pct
  • Ethiopia’s new premier reshuffles cabinet as part of reform bid
  • South Africa must tame Zambia’s “brutal regime”, opposition leader says
  • Senegal capital erupts in protest over proposed election law
  • Average yields mixed on Egypt’s 6-mth, 1-yr t-bills
  • Congo Republic still not ready for IMF deal – Fund mission
  • Africa FX – Demand for dollars likely to weigh on Kenyan shilling
  • Court stops Kenya telecoms regulator’s fake mobile monitoring plan
  • Strike halts gold output at two Randgold mines in Mali – union
  • Kenya’s fresh produce export earnings jump 11 pct in 2017
  • Foreign investment in Tunisia rises by a quarter at start of 2018
  • African Development Bank, KCB Bank sign $100 million line of credit agreement
  • Britain’s Queen Elizabeth backs her son Charles to take on Commonwealth role
  • Congo Republic debt restructuring will not affect bondholders – PM
  • Nigeria plans power tariff overhaul by 2021 to attract investment
  • Ugandan shilling holds steady against the dollar
  • Acacia Mining’s first-quarter profit slumps after Tanzania tax row
  • Nigerian police recover stolen parliamentary mace
  • Kenyan shilling steady; to ease due to increased importer demand
  • Steinhoff Africa Retail expects unit to issue shares to help repay loans

N.B. Full stories of above headlines are available on Reuters