Tag Archives: Banks
Banks: Latest News
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:57 am AFKI Original
The story of American bank Goldman Sachs buying $2.8 billion worth of Venezuela government bonds back in May stirred a, perhaps unwarranted, backlash from the morality police, but it gave the country’s government a much needed financial windfall, and made money for the banks involved. With that in mind, and similar opportunities available in sub-Saharan Africa, we offer Goldman Sachs a few candidates in the region to put on their radar.
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:03 pm AFKI Original
The story line in 2017 is buy undervalued assets, especially those with massive upside — no surprise. The surprise, however, may be looking for that opportunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kabila is still in power despite his term of office ending. Mineral prices have been low and hurt local mining companies. Budget cuts are a big topic in local politics. The DRC, like one or two other countries on this list, is worrisome on the surface. But there are opportunities in the government’s desire to strengthen private-sector investment.
Tom Jackson, 12:36 pm AFKI Original
Across Africa, banks are choosing to work with startups rather than compete against them. Citibank has run mobile challenges in Nairobi, Standard Bank has incubators in South Africa, and Barclays has just selected its second cohort in its Cape Town-based accelerator. Fintech startups are reimagining the concept, delivery and consumption of financial services in ways banks have been unable. However, such companies lack the financial clout and access to customers to ensure mass uptake of their solutions. Banks can offer them this.
Reuters, 9:48 am
The pool of potential buyers is shrinking that Barclays’ can sell shares to in its African business. Some institutional investors, including pension funds, do not allow them to hold an asset that’s sliding on credit ratings. Barclays is struggling to find one strategic buyer that will satisfy South African regulators and is looking to sell its remaining 50% stake in chunks. More than 80% of its revenue is in South Africa. “Banks are paying the price for political uncertainty that we’ve seen in the country over the past two weeks,” a fund manager said.
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.”
Dana Sanchez, 3:29 pm
Johannesburg-based Standard Bank is the latest to join the R3 consortium after some global heavyweights pulled out. The network represents a collaboration of 75-plus banks exploring blockchain as a solution for digital payments. Goldman Sachs, Santander, Morgan Stanley and the National Australian Bank have quit the NYC-based R3. Their departure raises questions about how much distributed ledger and blockchain technology are worth to the financial sector. One expert says they could have quit over competition and not wanting to share.
Kurt Davis Jr., 7:57 am AFKI Original
In cities from Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria to Maputo, Mozambique, gym memberships can be above $100 per month. Africans are paying higher fees than in more mature markets. Zumba classes are abundant, yoga is everywhere, and biking and running are an ever-growing trend in Africa. Putting cash into the facilities for these types of activities is lucrative. Scalability is still a concern but branding across borders and within regions is necessary for growth.
Dana Sanchez, 1:36 pm
In future, insurers, asset managers and banks are likely to benefit from the innovation revolution taking place in financial technology, which is creating new means of distribution. Partnerships will be key in reaching new customers, especially in parts of Africa where insurance premiums are being built into mobile subscriptions. “For insurers, the need to drive the distribution model and mobile platforms can fundamentally help,” an EY leader says.
Dana Sanchez, 11:17 am
Hyperinflation in 2008 had Zimbabweans paying 50 billion Zimbabwean dollars for an egg and 100 trillion dollars for a weekly bus ticket. The U.S. dollar has been Zimbabwe’s main currency since 2009 but those are in short supply. Now it’s deja vu all over again as the Zimbabwe government forces bond notes into circulation, a move many feel is a ploy to bring back the Zimbabwean dollar. The central bank promised to keep a lid on issuing bond notes, insisting they are not an official currency and will have no value outside of Zimbabwe. The first test will be in the informal foreign exchange markets on the streets.
Dana Sanchez, 2:22 pm
In June 2016, Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos controversially appointed his billionaire daughter Isabel head of the state-owned oil company Sonangol. The collapse of oil prices is nothing new, but the nature of Angolan politics and the stranglehold of the dos Santos family are threatening economic collapse. Under Isabel’s watch, Sonangol can’t afford to pay for toilet paper, never mind repay $1.135 billion in debt. Soon after Isabel became CEO of Sonangol, Angola pulled out of discussions with the IMF for a $4.5 billion loan. Isabel’s banking monopoly is the reason, an analyst said. The richest woman in Africa, Isabel owns stakes in five of the largest Angolan banks.
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