macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 24 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian shares tumble as global recovery hopes falter
  • MSCI Asia ex-Japan -1.32%; Nikkei -0.74%
  • US Fed officials call for more fiscal support
  • Gold near 2-mth lows on strong greenback

Oil Markets

  • Oil falls on fuel demand growth concerns as coronavirus lingers
  • Brent down 0.7% at $41.49 a barrel (0217GMT)
  • WTI down 0.9% at $39.57

Precious metals

  • Gold falls to over 2-mth low on stronger dollar
  • Spot gold down 0.3% at $1,858.08/oz. (0049GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.3% at $1,862.30/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans, corn hit 1-wk low as US harvest advances
  • Soybean futures down 1.2% at $10.02-3/4 a bushel (0305GMT)
  • Corn down 0.9% at $3.65-1/4 a bushel
  • Wheat down 1.1% at $5.42-3/4 a bushel

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

  • South Africa marks Heritage Day; Ramaphosa to speak
  • Ghana’s president & NPP flagbearer Akufo-Addo tours Western North region
  • Ghana NDC flagbearer Mahama speaks on electoral process thus far
  • Nigeria’s Buhari commissions key SGR line in oil-rich region
  • Bank of Ghana meets on rates; decision on 28 Sep [fcst. 14.5%, prev. 14.5%]
  • Ghana’s EC displays new voters register; 18-25 Sep
  • 75th session of UN General Assembly (15-30 Sep); speeches & engagements by African leaders
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • CAR MPs vote to keep Dec. 27 election on track
  • Nigeria pop star Yemi Alade wants to hleop women in new UN role
  • Ivory Coast to free opposition leader’s allies in pre-vote peace gesture, spokesman says
  • Nigeria auction bonds at lower yields after surprise rate cut
  • West Africa bloc may lift Mali sanctions soon, says envoy
  • Gambia opposition laments failure of bid to curb term limits
  • Eastern Libya forces say they killed militant group leader
  • Somalia president names newcomer Roble premier as elections loom
  • Nigeria gas tanker explosion kills at least 28
  • Three Egypt policeman, four militants killed in prison break attempt
  • Kenya’s Maasai gather for once-in-a-decade ceremony to turn warriors into elders
  • Gambia MPs reject retroactive bill curbing term limits as unlawful
  • Mali risks “economic paralysis” from post-coup embargo – trade group
  • Egypt orchestra for visually-impaired women resumes concerts amid coronavirus
  • Sudan discusses Arab-Israel peace & terrorism list with US – statement
  • First tanker to load crude at Libya’s Hariga port since January
  • Mozambique asks EU for help in tackling insurgency
  • Tanker to enter Libya’s Hariga port, load 1 million barrels of oil
  • Nigeria’s Buhari to send long-awaited oil reform bill to Senate – sources
  • Kenya harnesses fly larvae’s appetite to process food waste
  • China’s BGI wins 1.5 mln coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia
  • South Africa set for wave of equity fundraising as banks shun risk

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 23 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian stocks struggle to build on Wall Street gains, dollar rises
  • MSCI AxJ index trades either side of flat
  • Dollar strength points to persistent caution
  • Brent at $41.34, gold steady at $1,900

Oil Markets

  • Oil down after US crude inventories rise against expectations
  • Brent down 0.7% at $41.42 a barrel (0347GMT)
  • WTI down 0.9% at $39.46

Precious metals

  • Gold loses sheen as robust dollar weighs
  • Spot gold down 0.2% at $1,894.69/oz. (0348GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.5% at $1,898/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans slips for third day on US harvest pressure, wheat eases
  • Harvest-friendly US weather to boost soybean, corn supplies
  • Soybean futures down 0.2% at $10.17-1/2 a bushel (0326GMT)
  • Corn down 0.3% at $3.68 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.4% at $5.56 a bushel

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

  • Bank of Mauritius decides interest rates [fcst. 1.85%, prev. 1.85%]
  • Ghana NDC flagbearer Mahama briefing on voters register expected
  • Ghana health workers continue strike
  • Bank of Ghana meets on rates; decision on 28 Sep [fcst. 14.5%, prev. 14.5%]
  • Ghana’s EC displays new voters register; 18-25 Sep
  • 75th session of UN General Assembly (15-30 Sep); speeches & engagements by African leaders
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Nigeria’s main unions to strike over petrol, power price hikes
  • Egypt’s Sisi committed to ridding Libya of militia, regional interference
  • Ivory Coast ruling party says will hold election with or without opposition
  • Glencore says DRC Kamato Copper Company ramping up to full production
  • Macron tells Mali junta to hand power back to civilians quickly
  • Cameroon opposition say one killed in protest against veteran ruler
  • Zimbabwe to gradually re-open schools from Oct 26
  • France’s Macron says working for new Libya meeting to solve crisis
  • Uganda’s public debt surges in coronavirus crisis, central bank says
  • South Africa’s rand recovers after sell-off, stocks slide
  • Libya’s NOC says output to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry
  • Kenya’s parliament to challenge dissolution bid over lack of women
  • Nigeria’s central bank cuts benchmark rate to 11.5% in unexpected move
  • Ivory Coast to boost cocoa processing with 2 new factories
  • Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure at Zueitina oil terminal
  • Angola’s Sonangol reports EBITDA of $4.8 bln in 2019 – statement
  • Cameroon police break up opposition protests with tear gas, water cannon
  • East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum
  • Insurgency in Mozambique threatens food security, says World Food Programme
  • Coronavirus accelerates Nigeria’s digital banking push
  • Meet the woman driving a motorbike taxi in eastern Congo
  • South Africa’s rand falls again on second wave infection fears
  • Turkey says EU sanctions on Turkish firm over Libya embargo show bias

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 22 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Stocks down on fresh lockdown worries, banking sell-off; dollar rises
  • Asian shares extend losses for 2nd consecutive day
  • Banking sector sell-off continues on dirty money reports
  • Fresh lockdown worries, stimulus delay spook investors
  • Brent up 0.3% at $41.95, gold last at $1,908.76

Oil Markets

  • Oil rises as US storm eases, but demand worries linger
  • Brent up 0.3% at $41.57 a barrel (0224GMT)
  • WTI up 0.7% at $39.57

 
Precious metals

  • Gold edges higher as dollar halts surge on Covid worries
  • Spot gold up 0.3% at $1,918.20/oz. (0052GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.6% at $1,921.50/oz.

Grains

  • Corn rebounds on China demand, though improved crop ratings cap gains
  • Corn futures up 0.2% at $3.70-1/2 a bushel (0332GMT)
  • Soybeans up 0.3% at $10.26 a bushel
  • Wheat up 0.5% at $5.57-1/2 a bushel

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

  • Nigeria’s central bank decides interest rates [fcst. 12.5%, prev. 12.5%]
  • Ghana health workers on strike
  • Cameroon opposition protest expected
  • Nigeria petrol tanker drivers go on strike
  • Ghana’s EC displays new voters register; 18-25 Sep
  • 75th session of UN General Assembly (15-30 Sep); high-level general debate starts
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • B2Gold says Mali political situation ‘headed in right direction’
  • Kenya’s top judge advises parliament to dissolve over lack of women
  • Former Mali colonel Ndaw named interim president, junta leader VP
  • Cameroon soldiers jailed for killing women and children
  • Armed men kill at least a dozen civilians in northeast Congo
  • Botswana says toxins in water killed hundreds of elephants
  • Nigeria health workers end strike despite no coronavirus harzard pay
  • Kinross Gold CEO sees ‘very low’ risk of unrest spreading to Mauritania
  • Ivory Coast opposition calls for protests to stop Ouattara’s third term bid
  • Sibanye-Stillwater looking to buy gold mines outside South Africa – CEO
  • Coronavirus rumours and regulations mar Burkina Faso’s malaria fight
  • South Africa’s stocks, rand plunge on risk-off market sentiment
  • Senegal’s economy to contract 0.7% in 2002, IMF says
  • Ivory Coast dry spell supports cocoa main crop
  • OPEC watching Libya oil restart closely, needs time to assess – sources
  • Egypt discovers 27 sarcophagi more than 2,500 years old
  • Zimbabwe teachers to boycott work over pay, demand Covid-19 allowance
  • Oil tanker heads to Libya’s Hariga terminal as NOC partially lifts force majeure
  • Turkey will keep supporting Libya’s GNA despite Sarraji plan to quit
  • Botswana says cyanobacteria cause of mysterious elephant deaths
  • Algeria announces early legislative election
  • Algeria names new central bank governor, says President Tebboune
  • Morocco orders Covid-19 vaccine as cases approach 100,000
  • South Africa to allow travel from all of Africa from Oct. 1
  • South Africa’s Investec profit warning increases heat from investors

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 21 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian shares cling to tight ranges as attention shifts to US election, stimulus
  • MSCI ex-Japan down 0.1%, China blue-chips down 0.3%
  • Brent down 1 cent at $41.1
  • Spot gold slightly lower at $1,951.3

Oil Markets

  • Oil prices steady as third storm in month takes aims at US
  • Brent up 0.2% at $43.24 a barrel (0230GMT)
  • WTI up 0.2% at $42.21

Precious metals

  • Gold prices firm as tepid dollar lends support
  • Spot gold up 0.2% at $1,953.37/oz. (0334GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.1% at $1,960.50/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans ease from 28-mth high, Chinese demand curbs losses
  • Soybean futures down 0.1% at $10.42 a bushel (0258GMT)
  • Corn down 0.4% at $3.77 a bushel
  • Wheat unmoved at $5.75 a bushel

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

  • Ghana’s Akufo-Addo visits Nigeria; 20-22 Sep
  • Uganda eases Covid-19 restrictions, allows in tourists
  • Nigeria’s central bank decides interest rates; 21-22 Sep [fcst. 12.5%, prev. 12.5%]
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

Key African events or data releases over the weekend & early a.m today

  • World leaders to mark United Nations at 75 as pandemic challenges organization
  • Sudan to discuss removal from US terrorism list in UAE
  • Covid-19 graft scandals fuel South Africans’ anger with ruling ANC
  • Banks agree $545 mln for Congo Republic economy
  • Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on oil, except where fighters remain
  • Morocco orders Covid-19 vaccine as cases approach 100,000
  • Former execs of South Africa’s Comair to buy out firm in restructuring
  • South Africa commits $650 mln to airline SAA, adminstrator says
  • Turkey upset by Sarraj’s plan to step down in Libya – Erdogan
  • With tourists slow to return, Egypt’s resorts and ancient sites face tough winter
  • Three women in final five for WTO leadership race
  • Libya’s Haftar says he will lift oil blockade
  • Dutch court freezes stake in Angola’s former first family oil feud
  • Somalia president names newcomer Roble premier as elections loom
  • Japan sending team to probe Mauritius ship grounding
  • Ivory Coast opposition calls for protests to stop Ouattara’s third term bid
  • Ethiopia files terrorism charges against leading opposition activist
  • ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero says he was duped into coming to Rwanda, NYT reports
  • Convoy ambush in eastern Congo kills one aid worker
  • Ivory Coast ex-PM, barred from standing for president, says Ouattara must be blocked
  • Burundi impunity for abuses continues, says UN report, as another mass grave opened
  • Militant group claims killing of France aid workers in Niger
  • More than 30 killed in militia attacks in western Ethiopia
  • Suspected arms dealers moved millions in Somalia money transfers, report says
  • ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero denied bail during terror trial

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 18 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asia defies Wall Street weakness but economy, election worries cap gains
  • MSCI ex-Japan up 0.2%, Nikkei 0.1% higher
  • S&P down 0.2%, Nasdaq up 0.07%
  • Brent last 0.2% firmer at $43.39

Oil Markets

  • Oil eases as US production returns after storm
  • Brent down 6 cents at $43.24 a barrel (0112GMT)
  • WTI down 6 cents at $40.91

Precious metals

  • Gold firms on economic worries, stimulus hopes
  • Spot gold up 0.5% at $1,951.32/oz. (0348GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.5% at $1,959/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans set for sixth weekly gain as China steps up purchases
  • Soybean futures up more than 4% this week, set for more than 20% rally in 6 weeks
  • Corn up nearly 3% this week
  • Wheat up close to 4% in the week

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

  • South Africa ministerial briefings on ease of Covid-19 restrictions expected
  • South Africa SACCI business confidence Aug-20 [prev. 82.8]
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Burundi impunity for abuses continues, says UN report, as another mass grave opened
  • Suspected arms dealers moved millions in Somalia money transfers, report says
  • Somalia’s president names Mohamed Hussein Roble as prime minister
  • Convoy ambush in eastern Congo kills one aid worker
  • Militant groupu claims killing of France aid workers in Niger
  • More than 30 killed in militia attacks in western Ethiopia
  • Head of Libya’s Tripoli govt says he wants to quit
  • ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero denied bail during terror trial
  • Ivory Coast ex-PM, barred from standing for president, says Ouattara must be blocked
  • Uganda reverses forest destruction by inviting in…loggers
  • Algeria referendum looms as test for president and opposition
  • Uganda says 219 prisoners escape, some with guns and ammunition
  • South Sudan president replaces finance minister, state TV reports
  • Covid-19 graft scandals fuel South Africans’ anger with ruling ANC
  • South Africa to open up for international travel from Oct.1, says president
  • Kenya county govts shut down services in dispute over revenue-sharing scheme
  • Mali junta moves toward selecting interim president after embargo threat

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 17 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian shares open weaker after Fed
  • Nikkei flat, Hang Seng down 0.15%
  • BoJ keeps policy steady
  • Brent down 0.8% at $41.86
  • Gold down 1.1% at $1,938.12

Oil Markets

  • Oil falls as demand worries re-emerge, crews return to US Gulf rigs
  • Brent down 0.8% at $41.86 a barrel (0355GMT)
  • WTI down 1.1% at $39.73

Precious metals

  • Gold drops 1% as dollar rises after Fed’s upbeat economic view
  • Spot gold down 1.1% at $1,938.12/oz. (0321GMT)
  • US gold futures down 1% at $1,951.30/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans hit over 27-mth high on Chinese demand
  • Soybean futures up 0.6% at $10.17-1/2 a bushel (0134GMT)
  • Corn down 0.1% at $3.71-1/2 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.1% at $5.41-1/2 a bushel

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

  • South Africa’s SARB decides on interest rates [fcst. 3.5%, prev. 3.5%]
  • Kenya counties shut down over revenue allocation standoff
  • South Africa ministerial briefings on ease of Covid-19 restrictions expected
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Ghana’s economy contracts for the first time in 37 years
  • Head of Libya’s Tripoli govt says he wants to quit
  • Egypt cuts highways across pyramids plateau, alarming conservationists
  • South Sudan president replaces finance minister, state TV reports
  • Covid-19 graft scandals fuel South Africans’ anger with ruling ANC
  • South Africa to open up for international travel from Oct.1, says President
  • Kenya county govts shut down services in dispute over revenue-sharing scheme
  • Mali junta moves toward selecting interim president after embargo threat
  • ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero could face maximum life in prison, prosecution says
  • West Africa bloc fails to reach agreement with Mali junta
  • More than 50 prisoners starve to death in east Congo prison
  • South Africa’s Discovery reports 94% drop in full-year profit
  • Mozambique army condemns ‘horrifying’ shooting of naked woman at hands of fighters
  • Algeria upholds conviction of journalist; rights group fear new crackdown
  • UN chief to appoint special envoy to broker peace in Libya

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 16 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian stocks cheer upbeat data but temper appetite ahead of Fed
  • MSCI Asia ex-Japan +0.5%
  • Yen hits 2-wk high, dollar treads water
  • Gold, US treasury yields flat before Fed statement
  • Brent up 0.8% at $40.85

Oil Markets

  • Oil gains as hurricane shuts US output, stockpiles fall
  • Brent up 0.4% at $40.68 a barrel (0055GMT)
  • WTI up 0.5% at $38.46

Precious metals

  • Gold off 2-wk high as dollar firms ahead of Fed decision
  • Spot gold down 0.2% at $1,952.15/oz. (0026GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.3% at $1,960.50/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans extend decline on lower US crush; corn falls
  • Soybean futures down 0.2% at $9.89-3/4 a bushel (0226GMT)
  • Corn down 0.5% at $3.64-1/4 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.5% at $5.35-3/4 a bushel

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

  • Nigeria banking & finance industry conference; day 2
  • South Africa retail sales Jul-20 [fcst. -6.6% yy, prev. -7.5%]
  • South Africa business confidence Aug-20 [prev. 82.8]
  • South Africa’s SARB decides on interest rates [fcst. 3.5%, prev. 3.5%]
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • South Sudan fighter for women’s voices honored by US peace group
  • West Africa bloc fails to reach agreement with Mali junta
  • UN chief to appoint special envoy to broker peace in Libya
  • Mozambique army condemns ‘horrifying’ shooting of naked woman at hands of fighters
  • Moussa Traore, who led Mali’s first military coup, dies at 83
  • Zimbabwe eases Covid-19 restrictions as exam classes start
  • Gambia’s former first lady Zineb Jammeh hit with US sanctions
  • Egypt TV host’s comments on hijab spark debate, probe by media watchdog
  • AstraZeneca resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials in South Africa, health dept says
  • More than 50 prisoners starve to death in east Congo prison
  • UK says following court case of Zimbabwe journalist
  • Egypt cuts highways across pyramids plateau, alarming conservationists
  • Algeria upholds conviction of journalist; rights groups fear new crackdown
  • At least 24 migrants drowned off Libya – IOM
  • Kenya’s budget deficit likely to swell, finance minister says
  • Mali must appoint civilian govt immediately, says regional bloc
  • ‘There’s nothing we can do’, striking South Africa undertakers tell bereaved
  • Guinea-Bissau migration agency boss arrested for alleged cocaine trafficking
  • Millions of Africa children rely on TV education during pandemic
  • Nigeria health workers strike over coronavirus allowance
  • South Africa coronavirus loan scheme lags, hobbling govt relief package
  • Nigeria’s petrol and power price rises upset business owners

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 15 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian stocks head higher on China data, markets eye Fed meeting
  • MSCI ex-Japan index rises, most Asian markets in green
  • Central bank meetings dominate week’s agenda
  • Brent down 0.1% at $39.58, WTI down 0.1% at $37.24

Oil Markets

  • Oil inches lower as bleaker demand outlook weighs
  • Brent down 0.1% at $39.58 a barrel (0102GMT)
  • WTI down 0.1% at $37.24

Precious metals

  • Gold rises on softer dollar, investors focus on Fed meet
  • Spot gold up 0.3% at $1,962.78/oz. (0259GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.5% at $1,972.60/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans near 2-yr high on Chinese demand, US crop woes
  • Soybean futures up 0.4% at $10.03 a bushel (0248GMT)
  • Corn down 0.3% at $3.68-1/2 a bushel
  • Wheat up 0.1% at $5.46-1/4 a bushel

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

  • ECOWAS leaders meet on Mali in Aburi, Ghana
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa presides over meetings of councils on the economy (NEDLAC) & covid-19 response (PCC)
  • South Africa business confidence Aug-20 [prev. 82.8]
  • South Africa’s SARB MPC meets on rates; 15-17 Sep [fcst. 3.5%, prev. 3.5%]
  • Nigeria inflation Aug-20 [fcst. 12.8% yy, prev. 12.8%]
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Canada’s First Quantum eyes operations expansion at Zambia mine
  • Ivory Coast council approves President Ouattara for third term
  • US slaps more election-related visa restrictions on Nigerians
  • ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero declines to plead to terrorism charges
  • Egypt real estate firms’ profit hit by coronavirus crisis
  • Protest erupt in Ivory Coast against Ouattara’s third term bid
  • Nigeria reels from twin crisis that threaten food availability
  • OPEC+ Sept meeting unlikely to advocate deeper oil output cuts – sources
  • Egypt to allow wedding ceremonies, cultural events in open-air venues
  • Iran says it supports OPEC as long as its interests are protected
  • AngloGold Ashanti says South Africa gives “unconditional” approval for asset sale to Harmony
  • Ten Tanzanian school children killed in dormitory fire
  • Morocco medics protest over conditions, staff shortages as pandemic surges
  • Ivory Coast rains boost cocoa main crop
  • Coronavirus prompts major pre-emptive Egypt wheat buying spree
  • Vodafone says STC ‘substantively’ completed due diligence on Egypt unit stake sale

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 14 Sep

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

Global Markets

  • Asian shares buoyed by coronavirus vaccine hopes
  • MSCI ex-Japan rises, most Asian markets in green
  • AstraZeneca resumes phase-3 trial for coronavirus vaccine
  • UK, US, Japan central bank meetings expected this week
  • Brent up 0.5% at $40, gold firm at $1,949.7/oz.

Oil Markets

  • Oil mixed as storm threatens US gulf production
  • Brent down 3 cents at $39.80 a barrel (0050GMT)
  • WTI up 9 cents at $37.42

Precious metals

  • Gold gains on weaker dollar, investors await Fed meeting
  • Spot gold up 0.4% at $1,949.92/oz. (0309GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.6% at $1,958.60/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans rise above $10/bushel on Chinese demand, corn at 5-mth peak
  • Soybean futures up 0.8% at $10.04-1/2 a bushel (0347GMT)
  • Corn up 0.6% at $3.70-3/4 a bushel
  • Wheat up 0.4% at $5.44 a bushel

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

  • Nigeria health workers embark on 7-day strike
  • South Africa SACCI business confidence Aug-20 [prev. 82.8]
  • ECOWAS leaders meet on Mali in Accra (15 Sep)
  • South Africa’s SARB MPC meets on rates; 15-17 Sep [fcst. 3.5%, prev. 3.5%]
  • Nigeria inflation Aug-20 [fcst. 12.8% yy, prev. 12.8%]
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

Key African events or data releases over the weekend & early a.m today

  • Protesters set govt building on fire in eastern Libya
  • Uganda, Tanzania sign agreement for construction of crude oil pipeline
  • Mali’s M5-RFP coalition rejects junta’s post-coup charter
  • South Africa economy to shrink by more than govt’s 7% forecast in 2020 – Mboweni
  • Libya medics already faced war, now the pandemic is surging there too
  • Saudi Telecom says no deal reached on Vodafone Egypt stake
  • Libya’s Haftar committed to ending oil blockade, US says
  • Ivory Coast’s Bedie promises to let exiles return if elected president
  • Mali negotiators back charter that could see soldier as interim president
  • Congo gold miners scour rubble for bodies after cave-in
  • Mali interim president can be soldier or civilian – rapporteur
  • Congo says it will reimburse VAT to mining companies after audit
  • Ambulance hits landmine in southern Mali, killing six
  • At least 50 killed in collapsed gold mine in east Congo – NGO
  • Uganda, Total reach agreement bringing to fresh 4-wk low on cooler forecasts
  • Ivory Coast govt seeks end to violence ahead of October election
  • Egypt’s Sisi says appreciates ‘important step’ of Israel, Bahrain establishing diplomatic ties
  • Can a tooth settle the mystery over Congo’s independence hero?
  • Unilever South Africa takes further steps after ‘racist’ TRESemme advert
  • Regional party wins vote in Ethiopia’s Tigray, challenging federal govt
  • Six killed in Burundi gun attack, weeks after similar incident
  • Risk appetite aids South Africa’s rand recovery, stocks up
  • Almost 100 Senegal soldiers test positive for coronavirus
  • Junta to appoint Mali leader in 2-yr transition, proposal says
  • South Africa bank profits seen taking years to recover from Covid-19 hit
  • Malawi’s economy to grow 4.5% in 2021 – finmin
  • Zimbabwe divorce law spurs women’s fight for property

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

Capitalism and development

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji, @macroafrica

The main idea in IE Business School global economy professor and fund manager Daniel Lacalle’s 2020 book “Freedom or Equality: The key to prosperity through social capitalism” is the “need to apply the power of free markets to solve society’s greatest problems.” In his assertion, “there are market-based solutions to all of our social problems.” Thus, Lacalle defines “social capitalism” as the application of “free market ingenuity toward solving social problems.”

Simply put, “the private sector, not the government, makes direct investments in social welfare.” It is not suggested that firms become charities. Not at all. Social welfare is simply good business. There is money to be made. Plenty of it. But you also add value to society in tandem. A so-called “win-win”.

The idea might not easily appeal to people in places where things already work, where governments deliver public services efficiently and do so quite optimally. In fact, social capitalism could easily be confused with “socialism” if the distinction is properly delineated. In a socialist system, the “community”, proxied by the state, owns “the means of production, distribution, and exchange”. For social capitalism, however, the “individual” remains at the core. Simply put, social capitalism is not collectivism.

And unlike socialism or communism, social capitalism evolves with the times. It is dynamic. It relies on an incentive system that recognises the motivations and weaknesses of human nature. Public goods are likely to be delivered efficiently if there is a profit motive. And the desire to ensure the money wheel keeps spinning motivates adherence to the rules.

So what would be the role of governments then? Their guiding philosophy should certainly be to help businesses in anyway they can. This is not as simple as it seems. When governments look at firms, they see taxes and how their budgets would be financed. In the system being proposed, governments engage businesses before the money-making begins.

In other words, they ask firms how they can help them achieve their targets. They engage the business community on a regular basis. If done right, the relationship becomes a symbiotic one, whereby concessions here and there translate into gains in social welfare. In Lacalle’s exposition, “the government [would] be a facilitator, not the executor, of social welfare.”

Naturally, you may wonder if such an approach might not create a system whereby there is ample but expensive pipe-borne water, power supply, and other social services. And there is always the risk of monopolistic or cartel behaviour, whereby a firm or group of firms dominate an industry so much that they cannot be controlled. There is also the risk that the owners of such dominant firms extend their influence into politics and government.

These are not unfounded. But is it not already the case that the rich influence politics and governments in most countries? And it has nothing to do with whether the country is wealthy or not. American lobbyists literally dictate key legislations and orders of the executive branch; albeit with some finesse. In poor countries, the rich are much more brazen. They have no qualms with parading the extent of their influence in government. And in some cases, they become the government themselves.

In other words, the potential risks of a private sector-led social welfare system are already there. What social capitalism ensures is that firms make money and engender social welfare in tandem. Privately-financed roads rarely have potholes. Consumers of commercially-priced electricity make sure to switch off the lights when going to bed. Needless showers are usually rare if water supply is metered. Our governments would certainly have less debt on their books consequently. We may not have as much corruption. And firms would certainly be interested in sustaining the political system that puts them first.

But should the priority of governments not be the people? Of course, it should. People want jobs. They want to live in a functioning society, where the roads are smooth, and electricity and clean water are taken for granted. The record of governments trying to do these on their own is very poor, however. Capitalism without a leash is similarly terrible, as the rising inequality and populist backlash in rich countries show.

Winston Churchill once described the dilemma succinctly: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” With the right incentives and safeguards, firms could do for development what they do for themselves.