Africa

A currency crunch in Africa’s top economy is escalating into a French fry shortage, The Wall Street Journal reported. U.S. dollars have become increasingly scarce over the past 18 months as global oil prices crashed, depriving Nigeria of most of its export revenue. So the central bank has toughened rules governing how easily businesses can purchase them. That helped the central bank freeze its reserves at about $28 billion, down around 20% from a year ago. But commerce is paying the price.
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When Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister, gives his budget on Wednesday, he not only has to deliver on the task of rebalancing revenues and spending, but also restore the credibility of one of the most traded emerging markets, the Financial Times reported. Analysts say the budget will arguably be the most intensely watched of South Africa’s democratic era as investors seek to gauge the trajectory the country is taking as an economic crisis grips.
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Anglo American said on Tuesday it plans to sell its iron ore, coal and nickel units as part of a sweeping strategic overhaul to cope with a commodities rout that has triggered a fight for survival even among heavyweight miners, the Irish Times reported on a Reuters story. The global mining group plans to concentrate on its De Beers diamond business as well as platinum and copper operations as it dumps loss-making bulk commodities.
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Jacob Zuma has vowed urgent “concrete action” to prevent South Africa’s debt from being downgraded to junk as pressures mount on the country’s $350bn economy. In an indication of the difficulties facing the bellwether emerging market, the South African president told the Financial Times the government needed to change tack on issues such as co-operating with business and curbing spending.
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South Africa’s unraveling economy and a string of corruption scandals are coalescing into the gravest challenge for President Jacob Zuma in seven years in office, The Wall Street Journal reported. Those pressures transformed Mr. Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address Thursday into a chaotic condemnation of his policy blunders and a reflection of mounting public discontent, underscored by opposition calls to impeach him. Lawmakers from the firebrand Economic Freedom Fighters party shouted down Speaker Baleka Mbete before she could invite Mr. Zuma to speak.
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The African Development Bank is poised to expand lending across Africa in response to the sharp decline in earnings faced by many states and the rise in the cost of borrowing on international markets, the bank’s president says. Africa’s main commodity exporters have been hit hard by the slump in demand for natural resources from China and the drop in the price of oil and other minerals, with many countries struggling to plug growing budget deficits, the Financial Times reported.
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Angola’s central bank has pledged to tighten financial regulation and step up anti-money laundering measures after two international banks halted US dollar supplies to the southern African nation. Bank of America and Standard Chartered decided to stop supplying greenbacks to Angolan banks late last year, apparently over concerns about lax regulation. The oil-dependent nation was one of Africa’s fastest growing economies over the last decade, but it is now grappling with the collapse in crude prices, which has led to a shortage of dollars in the economy.
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Nigeria has asked the World Bank and African Development Bank for $3.5bn in emergency loans to fill a growing gap in its budget in the latest sign of the economic damage being wrought on oil-rich nations by tumbling crude prices, the Financial Times reported. The request from the eight-month-old government of President Muhammadu Buhari is intended to help fund a $15bn state deficit, which has been deepened by a hefty increase in public spending as the west African country attempts to stimulate a slowing economy.
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Years of rapid economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa fueled hopes of a prosperous new era, the International New York Times reported. To many, the world’s poorest continent was finally emerging, with economies that were no longer dependent on the fickle global demand for Africa’s raw resources. But as China’s economy slows and its once seemingly insatiable hunger for Africa’s commodities wanes, many African economies are tumbling, quickly.
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Anglo American plc has announced to sell high-quality Brazil-based niobium and phosphate mine for $1 billion. The company is taking steps to reorganize its portfolio before year-end financial results announcement, Business Finance News reported. According to the news released by The Sunday Times, the company is intended to sell its operations in the current week. This step will be a part of its restructuring program through, which the company has opted to repair its balance sheet and reduce the debt. During 2015, Anglo American faced severe crisis, mainly due to China’s economic disturbance.
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