Monthly Archives: July 2020

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 31 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Asian stocks falter as global growth fears temper tech boost
  • MSCI Asia ex-Japan -0.22%; Nikkei -1.87%
  • China, Japan post positive manufacturing data
  • Brent up 0.5% at $43.17, WTI up 0.3% at $40.04
  • Spot gld up 0.5% at $1,968.84/oz.

Oil Markets

  • Oil rises further from 3-wk lows, but headwinds loom amid pandemic
  • Brent up 0.3% at $43.08 a barrel (0358GMT)
  • WTI up 0.5% at $40.13

Precious metals

  • Gold set for best month in nearly 4-1/2 years as weak US data dents dollar
  • Silver on track for best month on record
  • Spot gold up 0.4% at $1,967.53/oz. (0458GMT)
  • US gold futures up 1% at $1,961.30/oz.

Grains

  • Corn set for monthly loss as US weather boosts crop outlook
  • Corn has lost 4% in July
  • Soybeans up more than 1% this month
  • Wheat has risen 8% in July

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

  • Eid holiday
  • Anti-government protests in Zimbabwe; after arrest of journalists, crackdown
  • Botswana reinstates 2-week Covid-19 lockdown in Gaborone
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa addresses summit on science & innovation response to Covid-19
  • Kenya resumes international flights (1 Aug)
  • South Africa trade balance Jun-20 [prev. ZAR15.94B]
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Out of hospital, Saudi King tweets Eid greetings
  • Botswana reinstates coronavirus lockdown in capital for two weeks
  • IMF approves $171.9 mln to Madagascar to address Covid-19 pandemic
  • Saudi King Salman leaves hospital – state news agency
  • Kenya Unilever tea workers escalate fight for reparations to UN
  • Zimbabwe govt minister died from Covid-19
  • Diamond giant De Beers likely to cut jobs after Covid-19 hit
  • Botswana says natural toxin could be behind elephant deaths
  • Zimbabwe security forces clear streets ahead of planned protests
  • South Africa probes medical suppliers over Covid-19 tender allegations
  • AngloGold Ashanti CEO Dushnisky steps down after two years in the role
  • Ivory Coast defence minister Bakayoko named prime minister
  • Libya to impose full lockdown as pandemic cases grow
  • South Africa insurers’ offer in Covid claims fight too little too late for some
  • South Africa’s Steinhoff’s first-half loss more than doubles to $1.7 bln
  • Tunisia’s parliament speaker narrowly survives confidence vote
  • Nigeria expects to comply with 1.412 mln bpd output quota – oil minister
  • Kenya central bank has ‘plenty of firepower’, governor says
  • UN warns that 60% of Zimbabweans threatened by hunger
  • Starved of dollars, Nigeria businesses struggle for survival
  • Mali cleric says crisis can be resolved without president resigning
  • ArcelorMittal South Africa falls deeper into half-year loss as steel demand falls
  • Shell writes down Nigeria licence at heart of Italian bribery trial

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 30 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Asian stocks rise, dollar languishes near 2-yr lows on Fed
  • Sentiment supported by ultra easy monetary policy
  • Eyes on US coronavirus relief package negotiations
  • Brent up 4 cents at $43.79, WTI up 1 cent at $41.28
  • Spot gold off 0.4% at $1,962.6/oz.

Oil Markets

  • Oil holds steady as virus concerns weigh on demand hopes
  • US crude stocks post biggest weekly drop since Dec
  • US gasoline, distillate inventories post surprise builds
  • Brent up 4 cents at $44.13 a barrel (0330GMT)
  • WTI down 1 cent at $41.26

Precious metals

  • Gold eases as risk appetite improves after Fed policy meeting
  • Gold up more than 28% so far this year
  • Spot gold down 0.3% at $1,964.70/oz. (0329GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.3% at $1,959.20/oz.

Grains

  • Corn firms after four days of losses, record US crop hopes cap gains
  • Corn ticks up on bargain buying after 4 sessions of losses
  • Soybeans face pressure as US-China tensions raise demand worries
  • Corn futures up 0.2% at $3.27 a bushel (0250GMT)
  • Soybeans down 0.25 cents at $8.85 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.1% at $5.32-1/2 a bushel

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

  • Eid holidays in Nigeria, Kenya & others from tomorrow
  • South Africa producer inflation Jun-20 [fcst. 0.3% yy, prev. 0.4%]
  • Kenya, Uganda & Zambia release July inflation data
  • Nigeria FX reserves Jul-20 [prev. $36.2B]
  • Nigeria manufacturing PMI Jul-20 [prev. 41.1]
  • South Africa trade balance Jun-20 [prev. ZAR15.94B]
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Contested Mali lawmakers will not step down, says representative
  • World Bank’s IFC launches $4 bln medical supply financing platform
  • Ivory Coast pledges fair vote, Ouattara asked to run again
  • Egypt’s Sisi approves restrictions on retired army officers standing for election
  • Half of violence against African migrants is by law enforcers, UN says
  • Morocco arrests dissident journalist on rape and spy charges
  • Seven babies stillborn in one night at Zimbabwe hospital as nurses strike
  • WTO set to skip naming acting chief after US push caused deadlock
  • South Africa insurers Old Mutual, Guardrisk offer to settle with virus-hit firms
  • ‘Vaccine nationalism’: Is it every country for itself?
  • Egypt budget deficit falls to 7.8% in FY 2019/20 – cabinet
  • Gambia VP tests positive for coronavirus, president self-isolating
  • EU set to drop Algeria from safe country travel list
  • Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 bln compensation to white farmers
  • Kenya police arrest fugitive indicted in US for ivory, rhino horn trafficking
  • Egypt’s arrears to foreign oil companies fall to $850 mln at end of June – minister
  • South Africa’s Standard Bank warns of up to 50% profit slump
  • South Africa’s Sasol to sell world’s biggest oxygen production site to Air Liquide
  • Zimbabwe minister Shiri, who helped plot Mugabe ouster, dies at 65

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 29 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Dollar teeters, gold takes a breather as markets await Fed
  • Dollar could post worst month v basket since 2011
  • Dovish Fed expected, statement due 1800 GMT
  • MSCI AxJ stocks up 0.3% led by China
  • Brent up 0.2% at $43.29, WTI flat at $41.03

Oil Markets

  • Oil rises after surprise drop in US inventories offsets demand concerns
  • Brent up 0.3% at $43.36 a barrel (0326GMT)
  • WTI up 0.1% at $41.06

Precious metals

  • Gold steadies on virus fears, stimulus bets; Fed meet eyed
  • Spot gold little changed at $1,957.84/oz. (0049GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.5% at $1,954.50/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans near 2-wk low as improved US crop weather weighs
  • Soybean futures down 0.1% at $8.87 a bushel (0309GMT)
  • Wheat up 0.4% at $5.25-3/4 a bushel
  • Corn up 0.2% at $3.30-3/4 a bushel

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

  • Central Bank of Kenya decides interest rates [fcst. 7.0%, prev. 7.0%]
  • South Africa inflation Jun-20 [fcst. 1.9% yy, prev. 2.1%]
  • South Africa PSCE Jun-20 [fcst. 6.3% yy, prev. 6.4%]
  • South Africa M3 Jun-20 [fcst. 10.8% yy, prev. 10.3%]
  • Ghana’s Akufo-Addo tours Northern, North East & Savanna regions
  • AfDB’s Africa information highway live exchange webinar
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Zimbabwe to resume stock trading, Old Mutual unit remains suspended
  • South Africa court allows Eskom to claw back $4 bln over three years
  • US says air strike in Somalia killed one civilian, injured three
  • South Africa Airways rescue plan ready bar the funding, say administrators
  • WHO says covid-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal
  • Three migrants shot dead in Libya after failed crossing to Europe
  • Nigeria in $1.5 bln oil prepay deal with traders Vitol, Matrix
  • AfDB rightly cleared its president of wrongdoing – independent panel
  • Nigeria banks squeezed as central bank shores up naira
  • Mali’s opposition rejects West Africa leaders’ plan to end deadlock
  • Kenya’s Safaricom launches 4G phone purchase by instalment scheme with Google

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 28 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Gold hits record, gets more precious as dollar loses value
  • Gold runs into profit-taking after meteoric rise
  • Dollar holds near 2-yr lows, breaks major chart supports
  • Shares take comfort in endless stimulus, Fed policies
  • Brent up 5 cents at $43.46, WTI down 7 cents at $41.53
  • Spot gold almost $40 higher earlier at $1,980/oz.

Oil Markets

  • Oil prices rise on US stimulus hopes, weaker US dollar
  • Brent up 0.8% at $43.76 a barrel (0118GMT)
  • WTI up 0.7% at $41.87

Precious metals

  • Gold eyes $2,000 in record run as dollar dips on dovish Fed bets
  • Spot gold up 1.4% at $1,969.76/oz.
  • US gold futures up 1.7% at $1,963.30/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans hit 6-day low as US crop weather favours yield prospects
  • Soybean futures down 0.8% at $8.92 a bushel (0056GMT)
  • Corn down 0.7% at $3.32-1/4 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.3% at $5.26-1/4 a bushel

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

  • Kenya senate debates & votes on contentious revenue allocation formula
  • Nigeria’s finance minister Ahmed & AFC’s Zubairu speak at Corporate Council on Africa’s Africa finance forum
  • Ghana’s Akufo-Addo tours Northern, North East & Savanna regions
  • South Africa’s ruling ANC summons presidential spokesperson Diko over allegations on tender irregularities
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • West Africa proposes plan to resolve Mali crisis; opposition unimpressed
  • Algeria suspends tax payments for firms affected by coronavirus
  • IMF board approves $4.3 bln loan to help South Africa to fight pandemic
  • Egypt & Sudan criticise Ethiopia at start of new Nile dam talks
  • South Africa’s Steinhoff offers $1 bln to settle global lawsuits
  • Zimbabwe calls US ambassador ‘thug’ as anti-govt protests loom
  • Egypt jails five women influencers over TikTok posts
  • UN announces start of Libya central bank audit
  • Nigeria to allow would-be graduates back to school despite spreading covid-19
  • Morocco women break through in rap scene dominated by men
  • Kenya extends curfew for a month as covid-19 cases jump
  • Ivory Coast cocoa main crop should weather below-average rain
  • Tanzania opposition leader who survived 2017 gun attack returns from exile
  • Africa trade deal could lift millions out of poverty, World Bank says
  • South Africa’s Santam to pay $60 mln in relief to virus-hit firms within months – CEO
  • AngloGold Ashanti forecasts higher H1 earnings

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 27 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Gold hits record high as US-China ties worsen, Asia stocks helped by tech
  • Asia tech shares gain as Intel delays new chips
  • Earnings, US stimulus talks in focus
  • Gold rose 1% to record high of $1,920.9/oz.
  • Oil down on worsening Sino-US relations
  • Brent down 0.5% at $43.14, WTI down 0.44% at $41.11

Oil Markets

  • Oil slips as rising virus cases, US-China tensions weigh on markets
  • Brent set to post 4th monthly gain in July
  • Brent down 0.3% at $43.20 a barrel (0242GMT)
  • WTI down 0.2% at $41.19

Precious metals

  • Gold soars to all-time high as dollar dive adds fuel to record run
  • Silver notches up fresh 7-yr peak
  • Spot gold up 1.5% at $1,928.83/oz. (0306GMT)
  • US gold futures up 1.4% at $1,924.20/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans drop for second session on US-China tension, wheat falls
  • Soybean futures down 0.2% at $8.97-1/2 a bushel (0323GMT)
  • Wheat down 0.7% at $5.35-3/4 a bushel
  • Corn down 0.3% at $3.34 a bushel

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

  • ECOWAS leaders meet virtually on Mali; follow-up to their trip to Bamako last week
  • Bank of Ghana decides interest rates [fcst. 14.5%, prev. 14.5%]
  • Kenya’s Kenyatta meets county governors on covid-19 response
  • Electoral Commission of Ghana press briefing on ongoing voter registration
  • Ghana’s NDC flagbearer Mahama formally “outdoors” running mate Opoku-Agyemang
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Some 120 said to be killed or wounded in attack in Sudan’s Darfur region – UN
  • Morocco shuts down major cities after spike in coronavirus cases
  • Kenya arrests two police after ‘shooting incident’, launches enquiry
  • South Africa extends covid-19 loans for struggling businesses
  • Rwanda refugee put under formal investigation for Nantes Cathedral fire – Le Monde
  • Tunisia president designates new PM amid hopes of ending political crisis
  • Somalia’s parliament ousts prime minister in no-confidence vote
  • Deposed CAR leader announces presidential bid
  • South Africa police nab 63 prisoners from mass escape
  • Senegal strengthens coronavirus testing for travellers
  • Zimbabwe court rules journalist danger to public, extends detention
  • Morocco fertiliser group OCP could quit US if duty imposed, sources say
  • Botswana rape survivor fights sexual violence with awareness campaign
  • MTN Uganda stake sale to be restricted to East Africans – regulator
  • 15 Zambia lawmakers, 11 parliamentary staff contract covid-19
  • South Africa’s Pepkor Q3 sales drop 17% on lockdown hit
  • Tanzania former president Mkapa, regional peacemaker dies
  • South Africa’s MTN buoyed by expected leap in first-half earnings
  • Libyans face painful power cuts as years of chaos hit grid
  • Kenya recycling firm mixes kitchen waste to boost urban farming
  • Kenya covid-19 hospital gears up for surge in new infections
  • South Africa’s Woolworths sees annual sales dip as covid-19 hits
  • South Africa’s MTN expects at least 100% jump in first-half earnings
  • Prominent South Sudan critic says govt sent hit squad for him; Juba denies

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

What is the purpose of knowledge?

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Unsurprisingly, the Madagascar covid-19 “magic” potion turned out to be a faux cure, it has been found. Yes, the potion does cure something, malaria, no less, but it is not a cure for covid-19. I happened on the news while reading Michael Hunter’s 2020 book “The decline of magic: Britain in the enlightenment”. One could not help being amused by the uncanny parallels. Such is the nature of conjuring tricks. They are usually clothed in known or verifiable truths. To the undiscerning, they look “true” on face value, and unless you dig deeper, you would drink the kool aid and probably belch with satisfaction at your fallacious “wisdom” afterwards. Conjurors only thrive with the ignorant. Make informed choices. Focus on your goals and leave conjurors to their magic tricks. That is the advocacy and perhaps also the purpose of knowledge.

Appearances can be deceptive
The groundnut pyramids in the northern Nigerian city of Kano used to be a thing of wonder. A symbol of the old city’s wealth and progress. Then suddenly, they disappeared. To this day, there is a perception that the diminution of those towering heights were due to some failure or mismanagement. However, not many Nigerians know that their disappearance were actually due to progress and not misfortune. And there would not be many as ignorant if care was taken to check the data. In fact, the quantity of groundnuts produced in Nigeria more than doubled to 3.6 million tonnes in 2016 from 1.6 million in 1961.

The groundnut pyramids disappeared. But production continued and increased in fact. True, there was a significant lull in output to about half a million tonnes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But by 1988, production was back to at least a million tonnes per year. Conjuring tricks are like that. The disappearance of the “pyramids” created the perception of a failed industry when in fact they were simply casualties of innovation and progress.

Knowledge is the key
As we are a very superstitious people, we fall victim to conjurors too easily. Why don’t we ever ask the self-acclaimed rainmaker to conjure up rain during the dry season or when there is a drought. Our fatalistic beliefs do not help either. It is astonishing how many still go up and about on our streets with careless disregard for recommended covid-19 precautions. In a few interactions, the refrain has typically been that “It is God that protects.” And that if one is destined to contract covid-19, there is not much one could do. Really? Yes, we should believe in God. But surely, we wouldn’t or shouldn’t go into the rain without an umbrella nor stand in front of a hungry lion or a speeding car just because we supposedly “have annointing”.

True, some deliberate foolishness have manageable consequences. But surely, not these. If you are a medical doctor that enjoys a nice cigar but ends up with damaged lungs or someone with the knowledge of his or her lactose intolerance but indulges in the sweet delight of milk & dairy and farts on end, surely you could not blame anyone for the consequences of your pleasures. Still, you may very well live a long and comfortable life in spite of your foolishness. But with covid-19? Certainly not. Not until a vaccine is found, at least.

With the coronavirus evolving, even as a viable vaccine is being sought for what it was thought to be just months before, a successful vaccine would probably take at least two years to develop. And there is no such thing as it is a “rich man’s disease” or that Africans are immune from the virus. Because even as we are very diverse, we share a lot of commonalities. Your race is not a consideration when you need a new kidney or liver. The foods we eat, whether pounded yam, pap, starch, eba, rice, or pasta, varied as they are, can all be classified based on the nutrients they provide the body and based on these are all the same.

A knowledgeable person could not have been fooled by the Madagascar potion. But to the extent that the possibility of its utility was widely entertained speaks to the human inclination for easy solutions. In his 2010 book “A New History of Western Philosophy”, English philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny wonders in the chapter about knowledge and its limits, the field of philosophy called epistemology, what the mark of genuine knowledge is and how it differs from mere belief. “Is there a reliable way to acquire knowledge of the truth and to eliminate false beliefs that are mere seemings?”, he ponders. These are questions that have occupied the thoughts of thinkers from antiquity.

A proper delineation of epistemological questions and varied answers over the years by philosophers in the field is broad and deep and would thus be diversionary for our purpose. But let us take an instance or two from Kenny’s highlights from one of Plato’s dialogues “Theaetetus” on the question of “What is knowledge?” to bring home the complexity of the subject.

“There are cases where people have true thoughts, and form true opinons, without having actual knowledge.” For instance, “if a jury is persuaded by a clever attorney to bring in a certain verdict, then if the verdict accords with the facts, the jurors will have formed a true opinion. But do their true thoughts amount to knowledge?” Socrates, who Plato was purportedly writing about had an answer to the question. But it is not of interest here. The goal here is to highlight how what may be deemed to be knowledge or truth may in fact be something else or simply just falsehood.

An excerpt from Sir Kenny’s exposition is simple enough to get some grasp of what knowledge could be. “Knowledge can only be of what is true; knowledge is only knowledge if it can appeal implicity or explicitly to some kind of support, whether from experience, reasoning, or some other source; and one who claims knowledge must be resolute, excluding the possibility of being rightly converted, at a later stage, to a different view.” After numerous deaths, Madagascar has asked for help to deal with covid-19. “If we know something,…we know that we know it, and know that we know that we know it (Kenny, 2010).”

Challenge the prevailing narrative
In my column of 7th April 2020, I discussed “The power of narratives” using insights from Nobel laureate Robert Shiller’s 2019 book “Narrative Economics: How stories go viral & drive major economic events” and how to manage them. In the pursuit of knowledge, you find repeatedly that what is deemed to be conventional wisdom is often not wise at all. In their 2020 book “Radical Uncertainty: Decision-making for an unknowable future”, former Bank of England governor Mervyn King and first dean of Oxford’s Said Business School John Kay highlight a resonant example to make the point.

It used to be the conventional wisdom that the build-up of acid in the stomach that supposedly caused ulcers were due to stress and a bad lifestyle. Australian pathologist Robin Warren thought different, asserting they were caused by bacteria instead. Teaming up with like-minded Barry Marshall, he found that “almost all gastric inflamations and duodenal and gastric ulcers” had one commonality: a bacterium they would call “Helicobacter pylori”. “Eureka!”, yes? You wish. What was a source of humongous profits for big pharma was now to be cured with antibiotics that could be procured for pittance? Warren & Marshall were rebuffed. But they did not relent. “It is now accepted that most gastric ulcers are caused by H. pylori, often acquired in early childhood.” The pair won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

So, what is the purpose of knowledge? It is a rhetorial question at this point. But at the very least, you know enough not to accept the conventional wisdom without doing your own investigations. From the African perspective, using the stomach ulcer ailment as an allegory, there are many who have lost their way in the pursuit of solutions owing to superstitions and bizarre cultural beliefs. But even if you were one swayed by science, you clearly would have been at your wits end following medical advice considering they did not know any better before the dogged pursuit of truth by Warren & Marshall. Beware of the dominant narrative.

Dream awake
I also use the faux “Madagascar covid potion” as an allegory of a broader malaise in our cultures. We rely overly much on untested superstitions and herbalism. These beliefs continue to hamper our progress. In days of yore, we believed flights could only be experienced quite literally in our dreams, with our butt cheeks atwixt the long handle of a broom. Not until such silly beliefs were relegated as fodder for relaxing fiction did the idea of mechanical flight blossom and eventually triumphed. Now if you want to experience the joy of flight, you do not need to conjure up one in your sleep. You simply buy a plane ticket. And yet, we continue to hold dear many fictions as “culture.”

You do not need to wear a leopard skin, with a beaded gourd in hand, and shouting out loud incantations in some deep forest to engineer ostracism, stigma or slander. These are human phenomena that have existed and been used for millenia in war and peace times to various ends. Instead of falling victim to the “if you can’t beat them, join them” faux “wisdom”, we should resort to diligence, focus and hard work. And patience.

The key insight from Michael Hunter’s 2020 book “The decline of magic: Britain in the enlightenment” is its description of how science prevailed over superstitions. While the details might not be ideal for this page, the long and short of it is that science prevailed over magic because it made clear truth from error. And as Kay & King’s 2020 book “Radical Uncertainty” shows, even science has its biases and constraints owing to the human constant and its proclivities for stories and fantasticism, a dimension amply explored in Shiller’s 2019 book “Narrative Economics”.

We have to give up many of our silly beliefs if we desire progress. Evidence of the progress that is possible in the aftermath can be seen in the modern comforts we enjoy today. And not until the people who invented these things jettisoned these fantastic fallacies were they able to concentrate their thoughts towards true magic: aeroplanes, automobiles, mobile phones, satellites, and so on. Things that actually work wonders in the real world and in our lives. Things that do not exist only in our dreamy sleeps.

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 24 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Asia shares stymied by Sino-US spat, euro stays buoyant
  • Euro near highest since late 2018 as dollar sinks
  • Asia shares retreat on Sino-US tensions
  • Gold approaching record peak amid covid uncertainty
  • Brent up 16 cents at $43.47, WTI up 9 cents at $41.16

Oil Markets

  • Oil rises on weaker dollar, but virus woes & US-China tensions weigh
  • Brent up 0.4% at $43.46 a barrel (0137GMT)
  • WTI up 0.3% at $41.19

Precious metals

  • Gold poised for best week in more than 3 months on stimulus bets
  • Gold up more than 4% so far this week
  • Spot gold up 0.1% at $1,889.24/oz. (0410GMT)
  • US gold futures down 0.3% at $1,884.60/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans set for second weekly gain on Chinese demand
  • Soybean futures up 0.3% at $9.02-3/4 a bushel (0249GMT)
  • Soybeans up nearly 1% so far this week
  • Corn down 0.8% for the week
  • Wheat has lost 0.3%

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

  • South Africa’s Malema addresses EFF 7th anniversary rally; 26 Jul
  • Ghana central bank MPC meets; 22-27 Jul [fcst. 14.5%, prev. 14.5%]
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Prominent South Sudan critic says govt sent hit squad for him; Juba denies
  • Tanzania’s former president Benjamin Mkapa dies, presidency says
  • Sudan finds mass grave believed to have bodies of officers executed by Bashir
  • West Africa leaders to hold extraordinary summit on Mali crisis
  • South Africa public schools to close as coronavirus cases rise over 400,000
  • Nigeria lawmakers recommend new board for Niger Delta body in corruption probe
  • South Africa SAA rescue conditions met except state guarantee letter, administrators say
  • French soldier killed in Mali combat operations – Elysee
  • Kenya forest communities face eviction from ancestral lands – even during pandemic
  • Egyptians crowd livestock market ahead of Eid holiday despite coronavirus
  • South Africa 59% excess deaths imply hidden covid-19 toll
  • Uganda reports its first death from novel coronavirus
  • Zimbabwe politician denied bail in anti-govt protests case
  • Solar keeps lights, phones on for rural Kenyans during pandemic blackouts
  • Orange launches digital banking in Ivory Coast, eyes further expansion
  • South Africa’s Impala Platinum expects 20% jump in annual earnings
  • South Africa expands virus loan scheme, may stop lenders blacklisting borrowers
  • South Africa’s Spur forecasts 40% fall in annual profit, hit by lockdowns
  • South Africa – Investigations ongoing at Glencore’s Cape Town refinery after blast
  • South Africa Sasol expects delay in last unit in US project to come onstream
  • Family of slain Ethiopia singer mourns their “hero like a lion”

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 23 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Shares drop as China consulate closure fans Sino-US tensions
  • MSCI Asia ex-Japan -0.3%; Nikkei down 0.6%
  • Investors fear further escalation of US-China tensions
  • Trump says other consulate closures possible
  • Brent up 1 cent at $44.30, WTI flat at $41.90
  • Spot gold down 0.3% at $1,865.84/oz.

Oil Markets

  • Oil ticks up, but gains capped by demand destruction
  • Rising covid cases reduce US summer fuel consumption
  • US crude inventories up by 4.9 mln barrels
  • US-China tensions add pressure
  • Brent up 0.1% at $44.31 a barrel (0207GMT)
  • WTI up 0.1% at $41.96

Precious metals

  • Gold slips as investors book profit, holds on to near 9-yr high
  • Spot gold down 0.2% at $1,867.36/oz. (0333GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.1% at $1,867/oz.

Grains

  • Soybeans ease as US-China tensions fuel demand concerns
  • Soybean futures down 0.2% at $8.94 a bushel (0309GMT)
  • Corn down 0.3% at $3.33-3/4 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.4% at $5.32-1/2 a bushel

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

  • Ghana’s Ofori-Atta delivers mid-year covid-focused budget review
  • Issoufou, Buhari, Akufo-Addo, Sall & Ouattara due in Mali to solve crisis
  • South Africa central bank decides interest rates [fcst. 3.75%, prev. 3.75%]
  • Nigeria’s finmin Ahmed & statistics chief Kale host webinar on data & good governance
  • Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce hosts webinar; Buhari’s trade minister Adebayo, economic advisory council chair Salami & Dangote key speakers
  • Ghana central bank MPC meets; 22-27 Jul [fcst. 14.5%, prev. 14.5%]
  • Ghana’s special devpt initiative minister Koomson in spotlight; after shooting incident
  • Cuban doctors arrive Kenya to support covid-19 efforts
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Sudan’s Hamdok says currency to be adjusted as he unveils reforms
  • Party of Ivory Coast ex-President Gbagbo ask him to run in Oct polls
  • Militants in northeast Nigeria execute four aid workers
  • AfDB approves 5 bln rand loan to South Africa
  • Sudan appoints 18 civilian state governors as part of transition
  • Sudan to begin currency adjustment in August
  • Egypt extends operating hours of cafes, restaurants until midnight from July 26 – statement
  • Don’t expect first covid-19 vaccinations until early 2021 – WHO’s Ryan
  • Botswana has not found more dead elephants midway through survey
  • Sudan to adjust pound’s exchange rate over two years
  • Zimbabwe court suspends police search warrant against Econet
  • Turkey says any Libya ceasefire deal requires Haftar withdrawal
  • South Africa restaurants plead for end to ‘job-killing’ restrictions
  • Zimbabwe activist, journalist charged in court over planned protests
  • Africa’s confirmed covid-19 cases exceed 750,000 – Reuters ally
  • Former Ivory Coast minister to run for president in break with ruling party
  • Ethiopia Airlines cargo plane catches fire at Shanghai airport, no casaulties
  • South Africa anit-apartheid campaigner Andrew Mlangeni dies at 95
  • Power cuts return, adding to frustrations in covid-weary South Africa

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 22 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Asia markets to open lower on pandemic worries, shrugging off US equities upswing
  • Australia shares down 1.1%
  • Nikkei up 0.24%, Hang Seng down 0.34%
  • Brent down 0.7% at $44, WTI down 0.8% at $41.59
  • Spot gold up 1.5% at $1,842.52/oz.

Oil Markets

  • Oil prices fall on US inventory build, increasing pandemic fears
  • US crude stockpile rise sharply in latest week – API
  • Brent down 0.7% at $44 a barrel (0156GMT)
  • WTI down 0.8% at $41.59

Precious metals

  • Gold climbs to 9-yr high on weaker dollar, stimulus bets
  • Spot gold up 0.1% at $1,843.09/oz. (0034GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.1% at $1,845.90/oz.

Grains

  • Chicago corn, soybeans rebound on Chinese buying; wheat firms
  • Corn futures up 0.2% at $3.31-1/2 a bushel (0106GMT)
  • Soybeans up 0.2% at $8.94-3/4 a bushel
  • Wheat up 0.1% at $5.28-1/2 a bushel

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

  • Issoufou, Akufo-Addo & Ouattara expected in Mali to solve crisis [during the remainder of week]
  • South Africa central bank MPC meets; 21-23 Jul [fcst. 3.75%, prev. 3.75%]
  • Ghana central bank MPC meets; 22-27 Jul [fcst. 14.5%, prev. 14.5%]
  • South Africa restaurant & hospitality industry protests expected
  • Ivory Coast’s Ouattara expected to respond to party’s request to seek third term
  • Ghana’s special development initiative minister Koomson in the spotlight; after shooting incident
  • Nigeria auctions 130 bln naira worth of bonds; settlement on 24 Jul
  • South Africa releases Apr-20 retail sales data
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Egypt’s army says it foiled ‘terrorist’ attack in northern Sinai
  • Saudi King Salman holds cabinet meeting virtually from hospital – SPA
  • Ethiopia, Egypt & Sudan to holdmore talks on GERD
  • Egypt agrees with Ethiopia, Sudan on the priority of reaching a dam binding deal
  • Italy prosecutors seek jail for Eni, Shell executives in Nigeria case
  • Ethiopia says first year of filling Renaissance dam achieved due to rain
  • Zimbabwe tightens covid rules ahead of anti-govt protests
  • Radisson adds six hotels in Africa in bet on future growth
  • US NHC: 80% chance of cyclone between west coast of Africa, Lesser Antilles
  • Algeria’s Skikda LNG plant resumes production after maintenance – Sonatrach
  • Iraq increases oil exports in July, still pumps above OPEC+ target
  • Sudan’s Bashir trial for 1989 coup adjourned as crowds jostle outside court
  • South Africa has not committed to fund SAA rescue plan, finmin says
  • AfDB agrees $400 mln loan for Mozambique LNG
  • Uganda’s Museveni seeks re-election to extend rule to four decades
  • Algeria expects energy revenue to fall $10 bln this year
  • Fight to save Senegal capital’s coast gains momentum
  • Kenya flower industry rebounds as lockdowns ease

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

macroafricaintel Daily Brief | 21 Jul

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

Global Markets

  • Asian shares extend gains as investors count on stimulus, vaccines
  • EU recovery fund deal reached
  • Investors expect US stimulus of more than $1 trillion
  • Nikkei up 0.6%, MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan up 1.5%
  • Gold firm at $1,818/oz.
  • Brent up 0.1% at $43.35, WTI flat at $40.94

Oil Markets

  • Oil steady as vaccine news counters rise in virus cases
  • Brent up 15 cents at $43.43 a barrel (0117GMT)
  • WTI up 2 cents at $40.83

Precious metals

  • Gold near 9-yr high as virus fears support safe-haven demand
  • Spot gold up 0.1% at $1,818.53/oz. (0040GMT)
  • US gold futures up 0.1% at $1,819/oz.

Grains

  • Corn, soybeans slip on sound US crop conditions, wheat slide continues
  • Corn futures down 0.6% at $3.33-3/4 a bushel (0208GMT)
  • Soybeans down 0.4% at $8.96-3/4 a bushel
  • Wheat down 0.3% at $5.20-1/2 a bushel

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

  • Issoufou, Akufo-Addo & Ouattara expected in Mali to solve crisis [Anytime this week from today]
  • South Africa’s Ramaphosa chairs follow-up AU summit on Ethiopia GERD talks
  • South Africa central bank MPC meets; 21-23 Jul [fcst. 3.75%, prev. 3.75%]
  • Nigeria’s agriculture minister Nanono speaks on food security amid covid-19 at virtual conference
  • Ivory Coast’s Ouattara expected to respond to party’s request to seek third term
  • South Africa state capture inquiry continues
  • Key African countries on lockdown or restricted; subdued economic activity
  • Covid-19 updates by authorities across the continent

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

  • Egypt’s Sisi wins parliamentary approval for possible Libya intervention
  • West Africa presidents to head to Mali to help solve crisis
  • Trump, Macron discuss situation in Libya – White House
  • Algeria aims to reform tax system, targets informal market
  • Vowing reform, Kenyan emerges as one of early WTO frontrunners
  • Nigeria official collapses during televised Niger Delta corruption hearing
  • South Africa outbreak should be wake-up call for continent – WHO
  • Egypt says Sisi and Trump agree on need to maintain Libya ceasefire
  • West Congo ebola cases up to 60, funerals a risk, says WHO
  • Kenya’s No. 2 retailer seeks strategic investor as supplier debts mount
  • Zimbabwe police arrest critics ahead of anti-govt protests
  • Egyptians struggle to return to work even as lockdown lifts
  • Egypt’s Sisi discusses Libya & Ethiopia dam with Trump – presidency
  • More sun, rain needed to strengthen Ivory Coast main cocoa crop – farmers
  • Pay rises for civil servants amid crisis are unjust and unaffordable, South Africa govt says
  • Vodacom partners with China’s Alipay to create ‘super app’ in South Africa
  • CEO of South Africa state defence firm Denel to step down
  • Pirates kidnap seven Russia sailors in Gulf of Guinea
  • Zimbabwe Econet asks court to suspend warrant in money laundering case
  • Ivory Coast ruling party says it has asked president to run again
  • South Africa’s Spur CEO Van Tonder to retire in Dec
  • Ethiopia farmers slaughter thousands of chicks as covid hits demand
  • Zimbabwe on course to meet 2020 budget deficit target – finmin
  • Kenya fishermen say they are squeezed by Ethiopia mega dam
  • Coronavirus causes poaching spike in Congo’s Virunga park

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