Five fascinating business facts – Part 32
Copper prices are at a three-year high of $6,747 a ton after inventories on the London Metal Exchange recorded the biggest weekly drop in more than a decade. However, Barclays Plc called the copper rally over hyped, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch said it’s the metal most at risk of a reversal, with the optimism of investors in financial futures disconnected from slow conditions in the physical market.
Nigeria managed to raise only N56.05 billion ($179 million) in a bond auction last Wednesday, less than half the amount on offer as bond buyers appear to pull back from a near addiction. The Debt Management Office (DMO) offered 135 billion naira worth of bonds maturing in 2021, 2027 and 2037 at yields between 16.80% and 16.90% but investors who demanded yields as high as 17% shunned the auction to take positions in the relative liquid secondary market.
Qantas, the Australian airliner has issued a challenge to the world’s largest plane makers to conquer the last frontier in global aviation by building a jet that can fly from Sydney to London or New York — without stopping. It could be in the form of either a Boeing 777X or Airbus A350 that can undertake the epic routes from the eastern cities of Sydney, Melbourne, cutting about four hours from the current 24 hours journey which requires a stop in Asia or the Middle East for refueling.
Amazon is sending tremors through the supermarket sector in the US after it said it would begin cutting prices on avocados, bananas and other products sold at Whole Foods, as soon as its acquisition is completed today. Offering the first glimpse into plans for the deal that has rattled the food industry this summer, Amazon said Whole Foods stores would offer lower prices “on a selection of best-selling grocery staples . . . with more to come”. The spectre of a price war in an industry where margins are already slim quickly wiped more than $11bn off the market value of some of the US’s leading supermarkets.
The first-ever publication of official figures on the number of people leaving the UK has revealed that only 4,600 international students overstayed their visas last year, overturning previous estimates that the number was closer to 100,000. Bogus data like this was used by the leave campaigners during the Brexit debate. Now the “exit check” figures tracking the departure from Britain of more than 100m air, rail and ferry travelers showed that 97 per cent of foreign students left the UK after finishing their studies. It also emerged that office of national statics ONS had underestimated how much foreign students pay in tuition fees to universities and colleges by up to £2.1bn a year.
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