#Africa #Markets | 23 May

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Asia feels chill from Sino-US tech cold war
  • Nikkei falls 0.5%, Asia ex-Japan near 16-wk low
  • Yen, sovereign bonds buoyed by safe-haven bid
  • Pound under pressure on reports PM May to quit

Oil Markets

  • Oil prices dip on swelling US crude stocks, but global markets still tight
  • Slowing oil demand also weighs on prices
  • OPEC cuts, Middle East tension keep markets on edge
  • Brent down 0.1 pct at $70.90 per barrel (0007GMT)
  • WTI down 3 cents at $61.39 per barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold prices steady, buoyed by worries over Sino-US trade tensions
  • Spot gold broadly unchanged at $1,273.84 per ounce (0112GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.1 pct at $1,273.30 an ounce

Grains

  • Corn snaps 8-session rally on profit taking, overall weakness
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures up about 0.1 pct at $4.73 per bushel (0128GMT)
  • Most active corn futures down 0.1 pct at $3.94 per bushel
  • Most active soy futures down 0.2 pct at $8.26-1/2 per bushel
  • Most active rice futures unchanged at $11.34 per hundredweight

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

  • South Africa central bank MPC decision [fcst. 6.75%, prev. 6.75%]
  • South Africa state capture inquiry resumes
  • South Africa National Council of Provinces to swear-in newly elected members
  • Egypt central bank MPC decision [prev. 15.75%]
  • Vote-counting in Malawi elections ongoing; some results already released, others expected today

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

  • Botswana lifts ban on big game hunting
  • Morocco set to reintroduce customs duty on soft wheat – industry body
  • Somalia protests after its officials deported by Kenya
  • Libya commander Haftar told Macron no ceasefire for now – France presidency
  • Congo wants more use of Merck vaccine rather than J&J newcomer – minister
  • UN declares Algeria and Argentina free of deadly malaria
  • Armed group kills 34 civilians in CAR
  • Mozambique ex-finmin should be extradited to US – embassy
  • South Africa’s newly-elected Ramaphosa promises to work for all
  • Ivory Coast awards Total and Eni new oil and gas blocks
  • BNP Paribas must face revived lawsuit over Sudan genocide – US appeals court
  • South Africa’s Steinhoff postpones shareholder hearing over petition
  • Africa Oil – Spot trade sidelined by tenders
  • Sudan military wants to cede power quickly – general
  • Charities fear for children seperated from parents in cyclone-hit Mozambique
  • Algeria’s army chief says he has no political ambitions
  • Armed gang kills at least 18 in northwest Nigeria
  • Soccer – Ghana’s Gyan available for Nations Cup after president intervenes
  • South Africa drugmaker Aspen in talks with potential European partner
  • Gabon president fires VP, forests minister over hardwood scandal
  • Zambia’s central bank raises benchmark rate by 50 bps to 10.25 pct
  • Zimbabwe mine output subdued in first quarter as dollar crunch bites
  • New Kenya body to help drive mortgage lending aims to raise 5 bln shillings
  • Tunisia parliament approves $800 mln bonds plan – lawmakers
  • Ghana producer prices flat at 7.1 pct in April – stats office
  • Tanzania’s China-backed $10 bln port plan stalls over terms – official
  • Kenya writer Wainaina, challenger of African stereotypes, dies at 48
  • Uganda shilling unchanged amid offshore investor flows
  • Kenya shilling weakens due to end-mth dollar demand
  • Slack consumer spend sees South Africa inflation slow in April
  • South Africa consumer inflation slows to 4.4 pct in April
  • Ivory Coast sends request for proposal for bond issue

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

#Africa #Markets | 22 May

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Asia stocks grapple with trade anxiety even as Huawei gets reprieve
  • Asia stocks shaky, MSCI Asia-Pacific index in and out of red
  • European stock futures slightly higher in early trade
  • Oil dips on US stockpile rise, Saudi assurance on market balance

Oil Markets

  • Oil prices drop on swelling US stockpiles, but markets remain tense
  • US crude stocks rise by 2.4 mln barrel to 480.2 mln – API
  • Saudi Arabia pledges to keep oil markets balanced, sustainable
  • Global oil demand growth slows amid trade tensions – BoAML
  • But oil markets remain tight
  • Brent down 0.5 pct at $71.79 per barrel (0658GMT)
  • WTI down 0.9 pct at $62.54 per barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold hovers near 2-wk low on strong dollar ahead of Fed minutes
  • SPDR Gold holdings rise 0.4% on Tuesday
  • Spot gold down 0.1% at $1,273.47 per ounce (0704GMT)
  • US gold futures unchanged at $1,273.20 an ounce

Grains

  • Corn extends gains into 8th session, near 1-yr peak
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures unchanged at $4.78-3/4 per bushel (0016GMT)
  • Most active corn futures up about 0.3 pct at $3.95-1/4 per bushel
  • Most active soy futures up 0.4 pct at $8.25 per bushel
  • Most active rice futures down 0.2 pct at $11.29 per hundredweight

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

  • Nigeria’s Buhari to dissolve cabinet
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa & MPs of 6th parliament swearing-in
  • South Africa inflation Apr-19 [act. 4.4% yy, fcst. 4.4%, prev. 4.5%]
  • Vote-counting of Malawi elections ongoing; results expected on 29 May
  • South Africa PIC inquiry continues
  • Zambia central bank to decide interest rates [fcst. 9.75%, prev. 9.75%]
  • Nigeria presidential election tribunal to hear HDP petition & determine main opposition PDP request for tribunal chair Bulkachuwa to recuse herself

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

  • South Africa consumer inflation slows to 4.4% in April
  • South Africa’s Tiger Brands revenue falls short after challenges at meat unit
  • South Africa deputy president will not be sworn-in as MP today
  • Ivory Coast sends request for proposal for bond issue
  • Acacia says sidelined from Barrick-Tanzania govt tax dispute talks
  • South Africa’s Tiger Brands H1 earnings fall 12%
  • South Africa’s Sasol increases cost estimate for US chemicals plant around $1 bln
  • French EDF Renewables wins tender to build 800MW solar plant in Morocco
  • Angola awards fuel tender to Total, Trafigura
  • South Africa minister says Mozambique ex-finance minister to be extradited home
  • MTN close to paying off 330 bln naira fine in Nigeria – NCC
  • With Sudan talks deadlocked, protest group calls strike
  • Latest low-fee, digital accounts shake up South African banking
  • Former Sudan intelligence chief’s guards block his arrest – prosecutors
  • French widow sues Boeing for at least $276 mln over Ethiopian crash
  • Africa Oil – Sonangol said to finalise July term allocations
  • Vedanta, KCM seek urgent Zambia talks, court appoints liquidator
  • Countries fueling Libya conflict must be stopped – UN envoy
  • Tanzania says to start cancelling inactive mining licenses
  • Egypt security forces kill 16 suspected militants in Sinai
  • Egypt govt debt surges in 2018
  • Zimbabwe hikes fuel prices again; new currency slides
  • Tunisia court temporarily releases UN official after 2-mth detention
  • Zimbabwe’s small businesses reel from power cuts
  • Nigeria central bank holds benchmark interest rate at 13.5 pct
  • Zimbabwe’s new currency drops 31% after fuel subsidy ended – traders
  • Zimbabwe hikes diesel, petrol prices by up to 47% – energy regulator
  • Egypt to raise power prices by 14.9% for FY 2019-2020 – minister
  • Yields mostly lower in South Africa govt bond auction
  • Malawians vote in tough election for President Mutharika
  • Zambia court appoints provisional liquidator of Vedanta’s Konkola copper mines
  • Nigeria’s Trans Forcados pipeline remains closed after fire
  • Libya’s NOC concerned about theft and lawlessness affecting oil industry
  • Water supplies restored to besieged Libya capital
  • Kenya shilling holds steady, expected to firm due to remittances
  • ARM Cement’s Kenyan assets sold for $50 mln – statement

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

#Africa #Markets | 21 May

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Asian stocks off 4-mth lows, but Huawei row weighs
  • Asian shares hobbled by US-China tech battle
  • Spreadbetters expect firmer open for European stocks
  • Fed’s Powell dismisses concerns about rising debt levels
  • Chip-related shares under pressure

Oil Markets

  • Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh
  • Trump threatens Iran with “great force”
  • OPEC expected to continue supply cuts into H2 2019
  • Brent up 0.4 pct at $72.24 per barrel (0534GMT)
  • WTI up 0.4 pct at $63.36 a barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold eases as dollar steals safe-haven thunder
  • Spot gold down 0.1 pct at $1,276.02 per ounce (0106GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.1 pct at $1,276.10 per ounce

Grains

  • Corn hits near 1-yr high on slow US planting pace
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures up 1.2 pct at $4.83-3/4 per bushel (0057GMT)
  • Most active corn futures up 1.2 pct at $3.93-3/4 per bushel
  • Most active soy futures up 0.8 pct at $8.38 per bushel
  • Most active rice futures unchanged at $11.23 per hundredweight

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

  • Malawi elections; #MalawiDecides2019
  • Ghana CEO summit in Accra; day 2
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • South Africa PIC inquiry continues
  • UK-West Africa Agritech summit in Nigeria
  • Nigeria’s Buhari expected back to Abuja from Saudi Arabia

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

  • Malawians vote in tough election for President Mutharika
  • Talks on Sudan’s political transition fail to produce deal for second day
  • Ex-Credit Suisse banker pleads guilty to US charge over Mozambique loan
  • Athletics – South Africa’s Semenya to contest 3,000-metres at Prefontaine Classic
  • Libyan gunmen halt water pipeline to besieged Tripoli
  • Soccer-Ghana striker Gyan calls time on international career
  • Egypt’s prosecutor orders release of seven opposition figures – source
  • Zimbabwe scraps official parity for fuel imports
  • Congo Republic senate approves restructuring of China debt
  • Kenya suspends gambling ad ban after musician complains
  • Egypt women use ancient Indonesian martial arts to fight abuse
  • Lawyers for South Africa’s Zuma tell court he is being treated unfairly
  • Zambia seeks ‘divorce’ from Vedanta over alleged mining breaches
  • Africa Oil – Flurry of tenders as Nigerian programmes emerge
  • Schoolgirls used as human shields in Congo due to ‘magical powers’ – charities
  • Kenya banks to test mobile lending app to ease SME squeeze
  • Somalia passes petroleum law, paving way for exploration
  • Algeria’s army chief says elections are best way out of crisis
  • Coca-Cola ends plan to refranchise Africa bottling unit, keeps majority stake
  • South Africa’s Amplats fires over 600 underground workers at its Mototolo mine
  • Zambia’s Lungu seeks new investor in Vedanta-controlled copper mine
  • Ethiopia starts rationing electricity for homes and industries
  • Uganda shilling unchanged on lacklustre importer appetite
  • South Africa’s Aspen sells Australian prescription portfolio to Mylan
  • Tanzania’s fines Acacia Mining $2.4 mln over alleged pollution
  • Nigeria’s economic growth slows in Q1 as oil sector shrinks
  • Kenya shilling holds firm against the greenback
  • Nigeria’s economy grew 2.01% in Q1 2019 – stats office
  • South Africa’s Barloworld H1 earnings jump 14%
  • Sudan military and opposition resume talks after street violence

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

#Africa #Markets | 20 May

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Australian, Indian elections boost Asian shares, trade fears ease
  • MSCI Asia ex-Japan +0.5%; China blue-chips drag
  • Elections lift shares in Australia, India
  • Oil up more than 1.3 pct after Saudi minister comments

Oil Markets

  • Oil rises after OPEC+ says to keep output cuts, Iran tension rises
  • Brent hits highest since late April
  • US oil touches nearly 3-wk high
  • Brent up 1.3 pct at $73.11 a barrel (0604GMT)
  • WTI up 1.1 pct at $63.47 a barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold steadies as trade tensions, Iran worries in focus
  • Spot gold up 0.1 pct at $1,278.06 per ounce (0137GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.2 pct at $1,278 an ounce

Grains

  • Corn jumps more than 1 pct as rains threatens more delays
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures up 1.4 pct at $4.71-1/2 per bushel (0119GMT)
  • Most active corn futures up 1.3 pct at $3.88-1/4 per bushel
  • Most active soy futures up 0.9 pct at $8.29-1/2 per bushel
  • Most active rice futures down about 0.1 pct at $11.07 per hundredweight

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

  • Nigeria central bank MPC meeting starts; decision tomorrow [fcst. 13.5%, prev. 13.5%]
  • 4th Ghana CEO summit in Accra; 20-21 May
  • Nigeria GDP Q1-2019 [act. 2.0% yy, fcst. 2.3%, prev. 2.4%]
  • South Africa state capture inquiry resumes
  • South Africa PIC inquiry resumes

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

  • Kenya shilling holds firm against the greenback
  • Nigeria’s economy grew 2.01% in Q1 2019 – stats office
  • South Africa’s Barloworld H1 earnings jump 14%
  • South Africa’s rand firmer as risk selloff pauses
  • Sudan military and opposition resume talks after street violence
  • Explosion targets tourist bus near near Egypt musuem
  • Saudi Arabia deposits $250 mln into Sudan’s central bank
  • Zimbabwe central bank says it secures $500 mln to ease dollar shortages
  • Sudan commander says democratic elections are his goal
  • Schwarzenegger struck by flying kick at South Africa sports event
  • Malawi’s president makes final plea for re-election in tight race
  • Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed govt receive military hardware
  • Libya’s NOC chief says instability could lead to 95% oil production loss
  • Ethiopia starts rationing electricity for homes and industries
  • At disaster forum, storm-hit Mozambique says will seek help to build back better
  • South Africa’s Sibanye wins final regulatory go-ahead for Lonmin deal
  • Zambia’s president insists on tax changes opposed by mining firms
  • South Africa power utility Eskom raises $361 mln through loan drawdowns
  • Africa Oil – European demand seen higher on crude shortages, high gasoline cracks
  • Egypt’s Sisi pardons 560 prisoners
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa appoints head of anti-corruption unit
  • IMF: Mozambique debt talks with VTB almost finalised, cyclone hits growth
  • Algeria election may be postponed, protests continue
  • IMF staff agrees to disburse final $2 bln tranche of Egypt loan
  • Acacia Mining says Tanzania mine to be issued environmental protection order
  • Uganda shilling inches up as tax payments help
  • South Africa’s Sibanye wins final go-ahead for Lonmin deal
  • Total CEO says planned buy of Anadarko’s Africa assets ‘perfectly fitting’

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

#Africa #Markets | 17 May

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Global Markets

  • Asia shares shudder as Beijing talks tough
  • Shanghai shares skid as Trump targets Huawei
  • Asia index ex-Japan hits 15-wk trough
  • Yen edges higher as mood turns risk averse
  • Bitcoin suddenly tumbles, then pares losses

Oil Markets

  • Oil steady as Middle East tensions mount, set for weekly gains
  • Brent down 1 cent at $72.61 a barrel (0658GMT)
  • WTI up 8 cents at $63.95 a barrel

Precious metals

  • Gold prices wobble as risk sentiment improves
  • Spot gold may fall towards $1,264 – analyst
  • Silver hits 5-mth low
  • Palladium down 19 pct since scaling record peak in March
  • Spot gold mostly unchanged at $1,286.27 per ounce (0732GMT)
  • US gold futures steady at $1,286.90 an ounce

Grains

  • Corn jumps to 3-mth high, set for biggest weekly gain in nearly 4 years
  • Most active CBOT wheat futures up 0.6 pct at $4.69-3/4 per bushel (0050GMT)
  • Most active corn futures up 0.7 pct at $3.81-3/4 per bushel
  • Most active soy futures up 0.2 pct at $8.41-1/4 per bushel
  • Most active rice futures up 0.1 pct at $10.92 per hundredweight

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

  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Nigeria supreme court to rule on sacked chief justice Onnoghen case
  • Microsoft Africa Development Centre launch in Lagos, Nigeria
  • World Telecommunications and Information Society Day #WTISD19

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

  • South Africa’s Sibanye wins final go-ahead for Lonmin deal
  • South Africa’s rand weakens as dollar boosted by solid data
  • Why Zimbabwe faces worst power cuts in 3 years
  • Lawyer requests Morocco state compensation for families of murdered Scandinavian
  • Total CEO says planned buy of Anadarko’s Africa assets ‘perfectly fitting’
  • Small plane crashes in Dubai killing 3 Britons, one South African – statement
  • South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater plans to resume dividend payments in 2020
  • Nigerian Stock Exchange aims to complete public listing this year – CEO
  • Chinese firms seek Turkey partners in Africa – Turkish contractors’ chief
  • Emerging market foreign direct investment tumbles – IIF
  • Facebook says removes 265 “fake accounts” linked to Israel
  • France’s Macron to meet Libya’s eastern commander Haftar next week – presidency
  • Standing tall: first black African woman scales Everest
  • Africa Oil – Angolan crude exports to edge up in July, diffs to stay high
  • Sudan opposition decries army’s suspension of talks, sees growing anger
  • Malawi president faces tough election against deputy, former pastor
  • De Beers, Namibia invest in new diamond mining ship
  • Uganda opposition figure says state is financially strangling him
  • Kenya to finalise IMF deal within 2 months, rate cap “no issue” – finmin
  • MTN Nigeria debuts in Lagos in $6.5 bln listing
  • ‘Safe haven’ for fleeing families hit by attacks in Burkina Faso
  • Zambian kwacha seen on the ropes, Kenyan shilling to firm; in week ahead
  • Nigeria central bank head Emefiele to serve 2nd 5-yr term
  • South Africa’s Tongaat Hulett, lenders to consider standstill agreement
  • Motor racing – F1 in talks with Marrakesh and Kyalami for African race
  • Egypt forces kill 47 militants, lose 5 of their own men – military
  • Kenya easily raises $2.1 bln eurobond, debt concerns linger
  • Burundi moves to seize assets of opponents in exile
  • MTN Group sees local ownership of MTN Nigeria at 35% post-IPO – investors
  • Kenya’s KCB Group sees acquisition of NBK sealed by October
  • Gold miner Metallon demands $132 mln from Zimbabwe central bank – documents
  • Investec battles Brexit, weak South African economy
  • South Africa’s Dis-Chem annual profit misses estimates
  • South Africa’s Investec reports 3.6 pct rise in full-year earnings

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

macroafricaintel | Ghana: Assessing the banking industry cleanup exercise (1)

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

In early January, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) announced there are now twenty-three banks – from thirty previously – licensed to operate as universal banks in Ghana. This followed their successful recapitalisation to at least 400 million cedis on or before 31 December 2018. The central bank gave the ‘minimum capital directive’ more than a year earlier. Out of the twenty-three, sixteen met the minimum capital requirement on their own. Three were mergers: First National Bank and GHL Bank, Energy Bank and First Atlantic Bank, and Sahel-Sahara Bank and Omni Bank.

Five indigenous banks, which could not secure the minimum capital before the deadline but deemed solvent and well-governed, were rescued by private pension funds through the “Ghana Amalgamated Trust Limited (GAT)”, a 2 billion cedis special purpose vehicle they formed for the purpose. They are state-owned Agricultural Development Bank and National Investment Bank, Omni/Sahel Bank, Universal Merchant Bank, and Prudential Bank.

Bank of Baroda, an Indian bank, chose to exit the Ghanaian market all together for strategic reasons. Assuringly, its operations have been taken over by Stanbic Bank. GN Bank, one of the erstwhile universal banks which could not meet the minimum capital requirement by the deadline, successfully applied for a savings and loans company licence. It has until June to complete the transition.

Some confidence restored
Seven banks, which were considered insolvent, had their licenses revoked, however. Unibank, The Royal Bank, Beige Bank, Sovereign Bank, and Construction Bank lost theirs over the previous one and a half years. Premium Bank and Heritage Bank are the two which were shut down in the new year. Like the earlier five, some of their assets and liabilities have also been transferred to Consolidated Bank Ghana, the ‘bad bank’ the authorities set up for the purpose.

The infractions by the closed banks were virtually the same. There were perenially illiquid and insolvent. Huge loans were granted to related parties and investments were fictitiously booked. And in the case of the defunct Heritage Bank, the sources of its capital were considered to be suspicious by the central bank and its majority shareholder adjudged not to have met the “fit and proper person” test.

In the most recent comprehensive update on the banking sector published by the central bank in November 2018, the main financial soundness indicators “recorded broad improvement…” relative to the year before. As at October 2018, there were thirty banks with total assets of 106 billion cedis. Thirteen of these were indigenous banks and seventeen were foreign-owned. Deposits were put at about 67 billion cedis, a quarter of which were in foreign currency. Shareholders’ funds were put at about 14 billion cedis.

By and large, the central bank has done a decent job of bringing some sanity to the erstwhile beleaguered banking industry. But are these steps enough? What about the reported poor governance systems at many banks? Not a tad few point to mismanagement and corruption for the genesis of the crisis. Have these been addressed? Would the central bank officials found culpable be dealt with to the full extent of the law?

What about the top politicians found to be responsible for embezzlement, insider deals, and stagnant loans at these banks? Would they be dealt with? And what informed the rescue of the five indigenous banks and not others?

More importantly, has confidence now been restored to the banking system? Probably. There certainly are now no panic withdrawals. And all those who go to their banks are able to do their transactions with little or no hassle.

An edited version was published in the first quarter 2019 issue of African Banker magazine