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Palladium bursts above $1 500 as shortages ignite record rally

By: Bloomberg     20th February 2019 Palladium powered above $1 500 to hit a record, extending a powerful rally driven by an acute shortage of supply as car manufacturers scramble to get hold of the material to meet stringent emissions controls. Spot palladium rose as much as 1.7% to $1 505.46/oz, and was at $1 501.89 at 11:38 a.m.... 

AfDB optimistic about Eskom’s turnaround prospects

By: Terence Creamer     19th February 2019 The African Development Bank (AfDB), which has extended billions of rands in loans to Eskom, says it is optimistic the actions being taken to turnaround the embattled South African power utility will bear fruit. Power, energy, climate and green growth complex VP Amadou Hott told Engineering News... 

Trust in tailings? Vale dam disaster spurs investors into action

By: Reuters     15th February 2019 Seeking assurances from Brazilian miner Vale by phone after a second deadly dam disaster in three years is not enough for Sasja Beslik. He plans to fly there himself to get answers. Beslik, head of sustainable finance at Swedish bank Nordea, blocked the bank's investment managers from buying any... 

Gold, operational costs drag down South Africa’s December mining production

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th February 2019 South Africa’s mining production decreased by 1.6% year-on-year in 2018, following a 3.9% year-on-year increase in 2017 and a decrease of 3.7% year-on-year in 2016, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) revealed on Thursday. In December, mining production decreased by 4.8% year-on-year, with the... 

Shifting R100bn in Eskom debt to government will have ‘dire’ economic consequences 

By: Terence Creamer     13th February 2019 Amid confirmation that Eskom is technically insolvent and will require a capital injection by April to remain a going concern, a leading economist is cautioning against the proposed transfer of R100-billion of the utility’s debt to government’s balance sheet. Instead, Standard Bank chief... 

Absa launches first-to-market vertical student cards

12th February 2019 Absa has become the first bank to issue new-look vertical cards to student customers. As the academic year commences, students who bank with Absa will become the first to enjoy the benefits of the game-changing vertical card.  From February 2019, the new card is being rolled-out to our... 

Russia's central bank to pay less for domestic gold from May

By: Reuters     11th February 2019 Russia's central bank will pay less than an industry benchmark for gold that it buys on the domestic market, it said on Monday. The central bank said that from May 1 it would add a discount to a purchase price currently based on the daily London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) gold price. The... 

DBSA wins global award for renewable energy project financing 

By: Simone Liedtke     8th February 2019 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has won the African Renewable Energy Programme Award. The award was presented to the DBSA, in London, in the UK, by Project Finance International (PFI), an institution that organises the global awards. 

RioZim halts output as central bank fails to make payments

By: Bloomberg     8th February 2019 RioZim halted production at its three gold mines after Zimbabwe’s central bank failed to provide foreign currency the company needs to keep operating. The shutdown is the second by RioZim since October. It’s the latest indication of how businesses are struggling to keep going as a dearth of... 

Iron-ore powers to highest since 2014 as Vale crisis intensifies

By: Bloomberg     8th February 2019 Iron-ore futures surged more than 5% to hit the highest level since 2014 on concern that the increasingly severe crisis at top producer Vale will curtail global supplies, tightening the seaborne market and offsetting the impact of a slowdown in China, the largest importer. Vale invoked force... 

Maduro sold 40% of Venezuela's gold last year amid cash crunch

By: Reuters     7th February 2019 President Nicolas Maduro blew through more than 40% of Venezuela’s gold reserves last year in a desperate bid to fund government programs and pay millions to bondholders. The government sold a total of 73 t of gold to two firms in the United Arab Emirates and another in Turkey, opposition... 

Sub-Saharan Africa Eurobonds to perform better this year

By: Reuters     1st February 2019 Eurobonds from sub-Saharan Africa will perform better this year even though debt levels in some parts of the region are ballooning, as diminishing prospects for further U.S. interest rate hikes support demand, a Reuters poll found. All but one of ten analysts surveyed this week said it would be a... 

How deep does the rabbit hole of South Africa's corruption go?

By: Bloomberg     1st February 2019 The name Gupta has become synonymous with state corruption in South Africa, as the family allegedly used its friendship with Jacob Zuma when he was president to win contracts and pick Cabinet members. But recent evidence splashed across newspaper front-pages and televised hearings about bribes... 

Project Halo stakes claim to buy Guptas' Optimum coal mines

By: Bloomberg     1st February 2019 Project Halo, a South African group that bid R3.05-billion for Tegeta Exploration & Resources' coal assets after it was placed under administration, said it expects the deal to go ahead and it’s unaware other offers will be entertained. “As things stand today we are the preferred bidder,” Project... 

Gaping wound 

By: Terence Creamer     1st February 2019 The World Bank’s latest South Africa Economic Update contains a fact box headlined ‘What is the state of human capital in South Africa?’ that is beyond disturbing. Drawing information form its recently unveiled Human Capital Index (HCI), the bank shows that South Africa’s education and health... 

Laguna solar power plant, Mexico

By: Sheila Barradas     1st February 2019 Hanwha Energy is building a solar power plant in Coahuila, which will power more than 25 000 homes. 

KfW, IDC sign $80m loan facility for green economy development 

By: Simone Liedtke     31st January 2019 German development bank KfW and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) on Thursday signed a “milestone agreement” for an $80-million loan facility. KfW executive board member Dr Stefan Peiß and newly appointed IDC CEO TP Nchocho were in attendance to sign the document on... 

Iron-ore rockets as Vale supply disruption convulses market 

By: Bloomberg     30th January 2019 The global iron-ore market was pitched into turmoil after Brazil’s Vale SA, the world’s largest producer, outlined plans to cut output after a deadly dam breach, buoying shares of rivals as investors weighed the impact of the disruption. Prices soared, with futures rallying more than 9%. Vale... 

BMF demands a black CEO for Absa

By: African News Agency      29th January 2019 The Black Management Forum (BMF) on Tuesday demanded that Absa Bank replace the outgoing chief executive Maria Ramos with a black executive. This comes after Absa announced that Ramos will retire at the end of February when she turns 60. Absa said its board had appointed René van Wyk, a... 

Absa chief executive Ramos to retire at end of February  

By: African News Agency      29th January 2019 Absa CEO Maria Ramos will retire at the end of February when she turns 60 and becomes eligible to do so, the banking group said on Tuesday. Ramos has been group CEO since 2009 and has led Absa through significant milestones including acquiring Barclays’s Africa subsidiary banks; the sell-down and... 

WesBank expects 1.5% dip in new-car sales, heavy truck market to drop by 4.4%  

By: Irma Venter     28th January 2019 A slump in the global economy, as well as a local economy offering “little in the way of economic stimulation”,  should result in a 1% decline in new-vehicle sales in South Africa in 2019, says vehicle finance group WesBank. “It is quite comforting to know that we were very close with our 2018... 

Second Vale dam burst in Brazil likely to curb mining risk appetite

By: Reuters     28th January 2019 Mining company Vale's second dam disaster in Brazil in less than four years deals a blow to an industry grappling with investor wariness and a poor image and casts doubt on new President Jair Bolsonaro's vow to reduce government regulation. Brazilian rescue workers on Saturday were searching for... 

DTPW provides update on Great Brak River roadworks

By: Simone Liedtke     23rd January 2019 The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) on Wednesday said its R182-million project to upgrade the R102 between Hartenbos and the Great Brak River, as well as the DR1578 between Tergniet and Wolwedans, would be completed by mid-2020. A number of construction activities are... 

World Bank says Eskom debt restructuring should be coupled to power market reform  

By: Terence Creamer     23rd January 2019 World Bank country director Paul Noumba Um believes the South African government is moving in the “right direction” by pursuing discussions on possible debt relief for Eskom in conjunction with plans for restructuring the utility and overhauling the architecture of domestic power market. He also... 

Kganyago says midpoint target allows for shocks

By: Bloomberg     23rd January 2019 South Africa’s central bank is seeking to anchor inflation at the midpoint of its target range of 3% to 6% to allow flexibility to deal with price shocks, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said. While risks to global economic growth are “without a doubt” a dominant concern and the domestic... 

MTN has paid $53m to settle Nigeria dispute – central bank 

By: Reuters     22nd January 2019 MTN has paid $53-million to settle a money transfer dispute with Nigeria's central bank and the matter has been withdrawn from court, Governor Godwin Emefiele said on Tuesday. The central bank had ordered MTN and its lenders to bring back a total of $8.1-billion it alleged the company had... 

World Bank says confidence not enough to lift South Africa’s growth prospects  

By: Terence Creamer     22nd January 2019 The World Bank expects South Africa's growth to pick up modestly in 2019 to 1.3% on the back of several “promising” policy announcements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration in 2018. It expects the economy to expand by 1.7% in 2020. Nevertheless, the bank believes that the country’s... 

World Bank says Eskom simply too big to fail

By: News24Wire      22nd January 2019 The World Bank has argued that Eskom is too big to fail, and the South African economy would not withstand a financial meltdown of the cash-strapped power utility. "It is just too big to allow it to disintegrate, and fixing all these pieces will be costlier than trying to reform it," the bank’s... 

Cash flow

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     18th January 2019 In the cartoon the two guys are talking. One says, I have a design problem. The other guy says, there are no problems, only challenges. One such challenge in any consulting engineering business is cash flow. All clients of consulting engineers know that, if they go to the supermarket, they have... 

SARB holds rate as CPI outlook improves 

By: Reuters     17th January 2019 South Africa's central bank kept its benchmark repo rate unchanged as expected at 6.75% on Thursday, saying it had taken note of an improvement in the near-term inflation outlook. Governor Lesetja Kganyago said a significant drop in international oil prices and a less depreciated rand exchange... 

SARB expected to keep rates steady after November hike

By: African News Agency      17th January 2019 South Africa's central bank is likely to keep its benchmark repo rate unchanged on Thursday after raising it by 25 basis points last November to stem inflation central bank expected to keep rates steady after November hikepressures.central bank expected to keep rates steady after November hike... 

Key African central banks to hold rates on inflation, oil prices

By: Bloomberg     16th January 2019 Africa’s key central banks are expected to hold benchmark interest rates at their first meetings of the year – albeit for different reasons. While the drop in oil prices could give South African and Kenyan policy makers room to hold off on further rate increases, currency pressures could keep the... 

Project Halo refutes allegations of favoritism in bid to acquire Optimum, Koornfontein mines 

By: African News Agency      16th January 2019 Project Halo – the consortium which came out as the preferred bidder in the highly-contested purchase of coal mine previously owned by the Gupta family – on Tuesday rejected allegations of impropriety in the way it secured the bid to acquire mine and other related assets.  Last year, Project Halo... 

ANC will not tamper with central bank's independence – Ramaphosa

By: Reuters     16th January 2019 South Africa's ruling African National Congress has no intention to tinker with the independence of the Reserve Bank, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday, after the party said the central bank should broaden its focus to boost employment and economic growth. "There is no intention... 

Goldman models risk of 1 000 basis point Eskom blowout for South Africa  

By: Reuters     15th January 2019 Investment bank Goldman Sachs said South Africa's rand could tumble 3.5% if State-run power utility Eskom suffers a major sell-off in its bonds, but it could also jump 4.5% if the firm's troubles improve. Goldman's analysts said an Eskom risk gauge used by the bank was now close to its most... 

World's highest gasoline price prompts strike in Zimbabwe

By: Bloomberg     14th January 2019 Police clashed with protesters in the Zimbabwean capital as the main labor-union confederation began a national strike after the government more than doubled fuel prices to the highest in the world. The stay-away comes as a foreign-exchange shortage has sparked scarcities of everything from fuel... 

ANC says central bank should broaden economic focus

By: Reuters     13th January 2019 South Africa's ruling party said on Saturday the central bank should broaden its focus to include boosting employment and economic growth, a move that will worry investors already concerned about the direction of economic policy. The African National Congress (ANC), which has governed South... 

Reserve Bank seen on hold on Jan 17, hike in May

By: Reuters     11th January 2019 South Africa's Reserve Bank will leave interest rates at 6.75% on Jan. 17, all 27 economists polled by Reuters in the past four days said, but rising inflation means it is likely to hike them in May. May's expected hike to 7.00% would follow a surprise increase by the bank two months ago and is... 

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