Markets: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 9:34 am
There are just 37 black-owned wine brands in South Africa, the world’s seventh-largest wine producing country. The industry employs 290,000 people at 550-plus wineries. Empowerment and transformation has been slow to increase black ownership and leadership. Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black female winemaker, is a role model and symbol of change. She recently launched her own brand, Aslina wines, named after her grandmother in a rural KwaZulu-Natal village of 1,000 people. The wines are set for export to the U.S. later this year.
Dana Sanchez, 10:34 am
S&P is the first agency to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to non-investment grade. SA’s banks have proved that they can weather storms. “We have 50 percent more capital than in the global financial crisis and all South African banks came through that event fine,” a stakeholder said. March was a record month for trading volume in SA bonds. S&P’s decision doesn’t impact SA’s eligibility in global bond indices yet. But more ratings downgrades and increased trading volumes could. “The real issue is the impact on economic growth, industrial performance and employment,” a wealth manager said. “There is a negative relationship between economic growth and bank assets.”
Reuters, 9:55 am
Zuma fired former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over the weekend. The ANC party is blamed for inequality in a country where 80% of the population is black, but whites own most of the land. New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he will make unpopular choices to oversee radical economic transformation and redistribution of wealth. Gigaba also said said he will stick with budget plans to seek up to $2B per year in foreign funding. “We are not a bunch of wild gunmen running amok, gung-ho into Treasury…We are going maintain the programs that are being implemented,” Gigaba said.
Tom Jackson, 8:48 am AFKI Original
Uber says there’s enough room in Africa for all types of taxi and ride-hailing services. The US-based tech company headed off early competition on the continent, but new competitiors are rising. Uber hypes up the competition, saying it means more choices that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs. One new Uber competitior, Africa Ride, offers drivers a share in the business, saying it empowers them more than Uber does. “Drivers will want to log in on the app which they own and have control over,” said Africa Ride founder Thabo Mashale.
Peter Pedroncelli, 2:18 am AFKI Original
Many countries in Africa have extremely high central bank interest rates compared to most of the world, but there are some who boast lower rates that compare favourably on a global scale. Lower interest rates allow the people of that country to be able to afford loans and pay them back at more favourable rates versus countries where the interest rates are much higher. In comparison, the United States federal reserve has an interest rate of 1 percent, while the United Kingdom’s rate is currently set at 0.25 percent. We take a look at 13 African countries with the lowest central bank interest rates.
Reuters, 11:31 am
The ANC is having its most difficult time since the end of white-minority rule. Zuma agreeing to leave early could heal some wounds. “This could be the long-awaited compromise where Zuma agrees to go in return for some protection,” a political analyst said. Zuma’s offer appears as a way out but may not be enough to satisfy opponents. “We don’t need his offers. He must just go before destroying our country,” a senior ANC member said. In a sign of how divided the party is, Zuma was asked not to attend the funeral of anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada on Wednesday. Gordhan got a standing ovation.
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:44 pm AFKI Original
Africans are demanding more meat in their diets, but consumption may be limited because there are not enough commercial livestock owners producing affordable food. Firms are gobbling up arable land, not just for crop production but also for livestock and cattle. Investment shops are slowly redirecting capital to this subsector of agriculture. Nigeria is in tough times, but people still have to eat. About 45% of rural households own livestock, and meat consumption is strongly correlated to livestock ownership in Nigeria. Fewer than 10 percent of livestock owners function as a business. Most are just supporting the household livelihood.
Dana Sanchez, 5:17 pm
Each security is equivalent to 100th of an ounce of gold and is backed by physical gold. The Nairobi all-share index hit a 47-month low March 8, driven down by bank stocks and a Safaricom selloff. Having local currency exposure to the spot price of gold is attractive to local pension funds and others restricted in overseas investment. “It makes sense to be adding complexity to the stock exchange… Barclays is ‘pushing at an open door by launching a gold-based ETF,” an investment advisor said. “There’s clearly demand for gold here because people see it as a store of value.”
Reuters, 1:01 am
Gordhan is leading a team to London, Boston and New York provide an update on the most recent South African developments, “engage constructively with investors and share the government’s thinking behind its’ latest policy proposals.” Investors are concerned about rising political tensions in the ruling ANC, which is due to vote this year to replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader. For investors, Gordhan is the face of stability. Talk that Zuma might fire him has rattled financial markets.
Mongabay, 12:37 pm
An 8-pound monkey can cost $105 in Paris compared to $5.37 in Cameroon. In Europe’s biggest cities, demand for exotic delicacies or a “taste of home” drives a trade in African bushmeat that is as yet unquantified. African traffickers can get high prices for increasingly rare African species. The influx of bushmeat is small compared to the greater crisis in Africa. “Africa is eating its forests and we are looking at empty forest syndrome,” a stakeholder said. As African species get rarer and fetch a higher price abroad, Europe and the U.S. could become bigger bushmeat markets.
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