Five fascinating business facts – Part 49
South Africa’s rand, stocks ended the year on a high despite the political turmoil in Africa’s second largest economy. Continued volatility in low liquidity conditions saw the currency touch and then retreat from levels near its 2-1/2 year best.
At 1100 GMT Friday which was the last day of trading, the rand was 0.8 percent firmer at 12.3100 per dollar, with technical buying kicking-in first at 12.4000 and then at the 12.30, both recent support levels. The rand, along with fellow emerging markets currencies have benefited from the dollar shedding more than 9 percent in 2017 despite the U.S. Federal Reserve delivering three rate hikes.
The International Monetary Fund says Gabon’s economy grew at 0.8 percent in 2017, down from an earlier forecast of 1 percent, but expects growth to rebound to 2.7 percent this year due to recovering oil prices. The IMF approved a three-year, $642 million programme in March for the central African OPEC member, which like other oil-dominated economies in the region has struggled due to a decline in world crude prices.
Ghana’s cocoa regulator will sell bills and notes this year as it looks for ways to fund the replanting of diseased trees. The Cocoa Board may issue 182-day bills and one-year notes to fund operations, said Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boahen Aidoo. The board raised 3.7 billion cedis ($818 million) through cocoa bills last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About a fifth of Ghana’s cocoa tree stock is affected by swollen shoot disease, a virus that reduces yields and kills a plant within three to four years, while another quarter are old and unproductive. The country is the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer.
HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co.,Morgan Stanley and the National Bank of Abu Dhabi have been picked by the government of Egypt for the sale of a nearly $4bn Eurobond scheduled to hold this month as the nation taps cheaper funding sources to bridge its budget gap. The firms of Al Tamimi & Co. and Dechert LLP have been chosen as legal advisers. A final date for the sale has not been set, and the government may not carry out a lengthy roadshow like it did in previous sales, he said. With yields on local treasury bills above 17 percent, Egypt is tapping international debt markets to help narrow its fiscal deficit by reducing interest expenses. It has raised $7 billion from the sale of U.S. dollar-denominated Eurobonds this year, and it is planning a debut euro-denominated bond sale worth about 1.5 billion euros in the next three months. Managers for that sale will be selected “soon,” Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said.
South Africa’s private sector appetite for credit grew faster than expected in November, the Reserve Bank reported at the weekend. November’s private sector credit growth accelerated to 6.45% from 5.43% in October, beating an economists’ consensus of 5.9% in a poll by Trading Economics. The Bank also reported that M3 money supply growth accelerated to 6.61% in November from 5.01% in October, beating the consensus of 6.5%.
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