When you think of piracy (aside from the digital kind), what comes to mind? The answer is probably “Somalia”.
But a new report reveals that it is an outdated assumption. Piracy around the Horn of Africa is declining. Instead, it is increasing on the other side of the continent, in the Gulf of Guinea. Continue reading »
It’s hard to quantify an authoritarian crackdown. How do you measure curbs on free speech? And when a protest movement has many facets and disparate aims, they can be even harder to gauge, let alone put in numbers.
However, when it comes to the internet, there is one source that shows how keen authorities in different countries are on stifling criticism and controlling the debate. And if anyone had been paying attention back in 2012, the current protests in Turkey might have been less of a surprise. Chart of the week takes a look. Continue reading »
Worrying news from South Africa. London-listed miner Lonmin has said that talks with Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) – the more radical and growing union – will not resume on Thursday.
Amcu previously said that strikes would follow if negotiations over union recognition went unresolved. Amcu now represents over 70 per cent of Lonmin workers, usurping the more closely government-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Continue reading »
While other Asian policy makers are seemingly losing their nerve (see Indonesia story below) South Korea’s central bank held its policy interest rate steady at 2.5 per cent on Thursday, resisting any temptation to cut to promote growth. Continue reading »
As beyondbrics reported on Tuesday, index provider MSCI has rejigged its emerging market classifications. The headline grabber is that Greece has been put into the emerging market group. Up from frontier to emerging status come the UAE and Qatar. Morocco was relegated back to the frontier group.
It’s embarrassing for Greece and an overdue vote for the UAE and Qatar. But how much of a difference will it make? Potentially, quite a lot, actually. Continue reading »
The world’s energy landscape has been split for decades between the haves – Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia – and the have nots. Emerging markets had the oil and gas, by and large, and developed nations bought it off them.
So how does the new shale energy landscape shape up? The US may have decreased its reliance on oil from the Middle East thanks to shale but what of the rest of the world? Numbers out this week from the US Energy Information Administration shows that although developed countries may be dreaming of energy self-sufficiency, the reality is quite different. Continue reading »
With a slew of poor data and general EM currency sell-off, the rand has been under a lot of pressure in recent days. Analysts have been busily crossing out 9s and replacing them with 10s to forecast how low the rand could go: 10.5 to the dollar is now not an uncommon call.
So manufacturing data released on Tuesday will bring some relief, however temporary, with a 7.0 per cent increase in production year-on-year. Mining data wasn’t quite as cheering, but neither was it a disaster. And so the rand recovered much of the early losses on Tuesday to stabilise around 10.2 to the dollar, having breached 10.3 earlier in the day. Continue reading »
Although police and protesters are fighting running battles in Taksim Square in Istanbul on Tuesday, in what looks like a new stage in the country’s political crisis, investors seem ready to sit out the day’s events.
The lira has strengthened against the dollar, falling back from over 1.906 to around 1.892. The BIST 100 index, after an 18 per cent drop from its record May high, has also had a decent start to the day, up around 1 per cent. Why? Continue reading »
It wasn’t long ago that analysts warned of the rand breaking the psychological barrier to nine to the dollar. For nine, read 10.
In a day of big sell-offs for emerging market currencies – the Turkish lira, Indian rupee, Hungarian forint and Brazilian real have all depreciated substantially – the rand stands out, having fallen another 2.4 per cent at time of writing to 10.15 to the dollar.
Is this a case of investors taking aim at the more volatile, weaker currencies? Continue reading »
Nigerian banks have a way of finding their own solutions, be it fixing a crisis or getting first-time borrowers and savers into the system.
Or listing in London, for that matter. Three Nigerian banks have listed global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange. Zenith Bank is the latest, and is the second to do so among the country’s five Tier-1 banks. The move is one born of new confidence, and a search for new investors. Continue reading »
When a short seller launches a public attack on a company, the resulting storm can lead to a big dip in share price as investors digest the charge sheet – see Muddy Waters on Olam.
But African Bank, South Africa’s biggest household lender, saw its shares climb on Thursday despite a highly critical presentation by David Stemerman of Conatus at a conference in New York on Wednesday. A less-than-convincing case by the short seller? Or a question of the bad news already being out there? Continue reading »
As Sir Alex Ferguson steps down after one of the most successful football managerial careers of all time, the numbers machine is kicking into gear – trophies, win-loss records, you name it.
The thing is, Manchester United FC is a statistician’s nightmare. A famous Guiness beer ad from a few years back said that 98 per cent of Man U fans had never been to Old Trafford, the club’s stadium. It’s not clear where that little factoid came from.
But one thing is for sure: in terms of its fans, Man U under Fergie has become one of the world’s leading emerging markets football clubs. Continue reading »
When it comes to interest rates, Kenya is hard to predict. Having cut interest rates from 18 per cent in mid-2012 in great chunks of 150, 200 and 350 basis points to 9.5 per cent, Tuesday’s central bank rate decision was something of a guessing game.
In the end, the bank cut by another 100bp to 8.5 per cent, having held at its previous meeting in March. Around half the analysts polled in advance by Reuters and Bloomberg had predicted a hold in rates. At least no-one was predicting a rise. Continue reading »
South African mining stocks have had a tough time of it in the last 12 months what with strikes, outages and falling commodity prices. So you’d expect much of the bad news to be priced in.
However, Harmony Gold pulled off a surprise on Friday. The company announced a headline loss for the latest quarter of $23m, mainly due to the prolonged closure of a key mine. Its shares fell over 8 per cent to a low not seen since 2005. Continue reading »