|Thursday 27th of December 2018
Register and its all Free.
If you are tracking the NSE Do it via RICHLIVE and use Mozilla Firefox
as your Browser.
0930-1500 KENYA TIME
Normal Board - The Whole shebang
Prompt Board Next day settlement
Expert Board All you need re an Individual stock.
The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
Niche markets prove bountiful for investors in 2018 @FT
European carbon credits In the relatively niche world of carbon
trading, a few big bets made headlines, with some notable winners and
losers along the way.
Having languished for the best part of a decade after the financial
crisis, when excess supplies of carbon allowances depressed prices, an
elite group of specialist traders were quick to comprehend what tweaks
by the European Commission to the system meant for tighter supplies.
The result? A 230 per cent rally in the price between the start of the
year and September, which took the allowances to a 10-year high above
$25 a tonne.
The market for environmentally labelled debt has grown exponentially
in the decade since it was first launched, but 2018 saw its first
stutter. Sales of green bonds rose year on year, but the rate of
growth dropped off sharply.
After expanding 77 per cent from 2015 to 2016, and 65 per cent in the
year to 2017, the value of green bond sales grew just 12 per cent from
2017 to 2018, according to figures from data provider Refinitiv. A
total of $120bn of green-labelled bonds had been sold by mid-December.
But the emergence of a wider range of ethical labelling in the capital
markets has also played a role. Sales of social and sustainable bonds
are up sharply year on year, although both are still very small
Ethically labelled debt is popular with investors because of the
additional disclosure that it forces issuers to provide. Yet so far
there is no clear evidence that investors are willing to pay a premium
for green-labelled debt, and the question of whether it can outperform
conventional debt remains an open one.
“We believe the main issue prohibiting clear disclosure is the
diversity of projects financed, coupled with lack of universally
applicable impact measurement standards,” said Rahul Ghosh, a senior
vice-president at credit rating agency Moody’s.
Volatility In 2017, one of the biggest niche money-spinners in
financial markets was betting that they would remain tranquil. But in
February those punts unravelled in dramatic fashion and this year the
smart money has been wagering on renewed turbulence.
“The low vol bubble is deflating, and signs of regime change are
growing,” analysts at Bank of America wrote in a report.
Burgundy wine Wine traders can toast a vintage year for Burgundy
prices in 2018, as this niche corner of the fine wine market surged to
Wine can be a tough asset to trade, due to high transaction and
storage costs, and the broader fine market offered little to investors
this year, gaining just 0.22 per cent according to Liv-ex’s Fine Wine
But its Burgundy 150 index has surged 35.52 per cent, its best
performance in a decade. In October, two bottles of Romanee-Conti
broke the record for the most expensive bottles of wine ever sold at
Tilray went public at $17 in July, rose as high as $300 and was
trading around $70 late in the year. That was still enough of a rise
to be the top performing US-listed IPO this year, according to
24-DEC-2018 :: Annus horribilis [Cash is King]
It was the Queen Elizabeth II who gave currency to the Latin phrase
Annus horribilis [which is a Latin phrase, meaning "horrible year"].
It is complementary to annus mirabilis, which means "wonderful year";
however, annus mirabilis is a traditional term, while annus horribilis
is of relatively recent coinage. The expression was brought to modern
prominence by Queen Elizabeth II in a speech to Guildhall on 24
November 1992, marking the 40th anniversary of her accession, in which
she described the year as an annus horribilis.
''1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted
pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents,
it has turned out to be an annus horribilis''
Kenya Shilling has confounded nearly all predictions and appreciated
versus the Dollar and the Egyptian Pound has held steady. Sifting the
Signal from the Noise is no easy Feat and You will recall the Noise
around the Shilling was a screech many times in 2018.
The Questions that Investors need to ask themselves are the following?
How much higher will the FED dial up rates? The markets are signalling
not much more. Powell [who has incurred Trump's wrath] predicted two
more quarter point hikes in 2019. A lot hinges on this outlook. Where
do we sit on the Tariff War graph? What happens if China catches a
cold? What is the China Africa feedback loop going to look like? Does
the 2018 Trend have further to run?
In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells] Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 1892
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
"This is a picture of a lost and damaged soul," Peter Wehner "There's something sad & poignant about a @POTUS isolated and alone. He's like King Lear, raging against the winds" @washingtonpost
Law & Politics
On Monday, Trump appeared to be literally isolated, left largely by
himself in the city he has whirled from one crisis to another. The
Capitol had emptied out, with most lawmakers headed home for the
holiday. Vice President Pence was a couple of miles up the road at the
Naval Observatory, celebrating Christmas Eve with his family in his
First lady Melania Trump, who had flown as scheduled to Florida last
week for the family’s annual Christmas trip to Mar-a-Lago, returned to
Washington on Monday to celebrate the holiday with her husband.
“It’s a sad and pathetic moment when on Christmas Eve the president of
the United States is firing downer tweets in a petulant, loner mood,”
said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “This is like Charles
Dickens’s Scrooge on steroids.”
Ex- @TheMossadIL Head: Russia Decided Trump Was Their Best Candidate, and Ran Him for President @haaretzcom
Law & Politics
Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said Monday that Russia deployed tens
of thousands of bots to influence the 2016 U.S. elections in favor of
Donald Trump, but not because Trump is a great friend of Russia.
Speaking at The Marker's digital conference, Pardo said that it seems
to him that the Russians simply chose to support the candidate that
would be the most politically advantageous for them.
Pardo said they took a look at the political map in Washington, "and
thought, which candidate would we like to have sitting in the White
House? Who will help us achieve our goals? And they chose him. From
that moment, they deployed a system [of bots] for the length of the
elections, and ran him for president."
As an example, he said that . Politicians hold the key to stopping the
chaos created by the bots, he concluded.
REVENTADOR, Ecuador - The dam sits under the glare of an active volcano, with columns of ash spewing toward the sky. @nytimes
Law & Politics
Officials had warned against the dam for decades. Geologists said an
earthquake could wipe it away.
Now, only two years after opening, thousands of cracks are splintering
the dam’s machinery. Its reservoir is clogged with silt, sand and
trees. And the only time engineers tried to throttle up the facility
completely, it shook violently and shorted out the national
This giant dam in the jungle, financed and built by China, was
supposed to christen Ecuador’s vast ambitions, solve its energy needs
and help lift the small South American country out of poverty.
Instead, it has become part of a national scandal engulfing the
country in corruption, perilous amounts of debt — and a future
tethered to China.
Nearly every top Ecuadorean official involved in the dam’s
construction is either imprisoned or sentenced on bribery charges.
That includes a former vice president, a former electricity minister
and even the former anti-corruption official monitoring the project,
who was caught on tape talking about Chinese bribes.
Then there is the price tag: around $19 billion in Chinese loans, not
only for this dam, known as Coca Codo Sinclair, but also for bridges,
highways, irrigation, schools, health clinics and a half dozen other
dams the government is scrambling to pay for.
It doesn’t matter whether Ecuador can afford them.
China gets paid either way.
To settle the bill, China gets to keep 80 percent of Ecuador’s most
valuable export — oil — because many of the contracts are repaid in
petroleum, not dollars. In fact, China gets the oil at a discount,
then sells it for an additional profit.
Pumping enough oil to repay China has become such an imperative for
Ecuador that it is drilling deeper in the Amazon, threatening more
But that is not enough. Hobbled by the debts, President Lenín Moreno
has slashed social spending, gasoline subsidies, several government
agencies and more than 1,000 public jobs. Most economists expect the
country to slide into recession, stirring outrage.
“The Chinese put the hook in,” said Steve Hanke, a Johns Hopkins
economist. “At the end of the day, what do these countries have? A pig
in a poke.”
China To Take Over Kenya's Largest Port Over Unpaid Chinese Loan @zerohedge
Law & Politics
After years of "benevolent" handouts to various African countries by
Beijing, all of which however came in the form of loans, of which few
have led to viable, long-term projects and cash-flow generating
assets, and led to accusations that China is pursuing a "new
colonialism" of the African continent (and more recently, nations
along the One Belt, One Road corridor), China is demonstrating to the
world what happens when its debtors refuse to pay up.
It turns out, the official was not exactly telling the truth, because
far from handing out free money the African Stand reports that China
is likely to take over Kenya's lucrative Mombassa port if Kenya
Railways Corporation defaults on its loan from the Exim Bank of China.
Call it a "debt-for-sovereign equity" exchange with a twist.
China's aggressive strategy emerged when a leaked audit report showed
that the Kenyan government had inexplicably waived its sovereign
immunity on the Kenya Ports Asset when signing the agreement, thus
exposing the Kenya Port Authority to foreclosure - and confiscation -
by China's Exim Bank.
The report said that "the payment arrangement agreement substantively
means that the Authority's revenue would be used to pay the Government
of Kenya's debt to China Exim bank if the minimum volumes required for
[rail] consignment were not met", auditor F.T Kimani wrote. "The China
Exim bank would become a principal over KPA if KRC defaults in its
obligations, reports Africa Stand and All Africa news.
KRC accepted the multi-billion dollar loan from the Chinese
institution to build the Mombassa-Nairobi standard gauge railway
(SGR), with construction services provided by China Roads and Bridges
Corporation (CRBC), a division of state-owned conglomerate China
Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which is why some have
said the loan was a low-risk, full recourse vendor financing, one
where it is China who gets all the upside while sticking the naive
natives with all the potential downside, as the "worst-case scenario"
Meanwhile, in addition to putting the port at risk for a Chinese
takeover, at stake is also the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi,
which receives and dispatches freight hauled on the new cargo trains
from the sea port.
In other words, a Chinese-funded project in Africa, is about to be
confiscated by China, which will appoint Chinese management, upstream
all revenues to China (and, eventually, profits after enough fat is
trimmed), and provide China with its own strategist port in east
A brilliant "investment" scheme? Why yes, and it won't be the first
time China has used it: in December 2017, the Sri Lankan government
lost its Hambantota port to China for a lease period of 99 years after
failing to show commitment in the payment of billions of dollars in
loans. The transfer, according to the New York Times, gave China
control of the territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of
It is a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.
"The case is one of the examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and
aid to gain influence around the world and of its willingness to play
hardball to collect,” says the New York Times of December 12, 2017.
And while some may gawk at the unprecedented loophole that was left to
grant China what is effectively the takeover of a strategist sovereign
assets, some suspect that backdoor financial dealings may have been
involved becuase as African Stand writes, it is "indiscernible" how
KPA signed the loan agreement as a borrower, in one of the toxic
clauses subsequently exposing its assets to the Chinese clamp.
"…any proceeding(s) against its assets (KPA) by the lender would not
be protected by sovereign immunity since the Government waived the
immunity on the Kenya Ports Assets by signing the agreement,” the
Whatever the reason for the glaring oversight, and the imminent
"confiscation" of this critical African asset by Beijing, slowly but
surely China's intrepid vision behind first colonizing Africa (using
China-funded loans) and subsequently much of Asia with the "One Belt,
One Road" initiative is becoming quite clear.
Sudan's president remains defiant after deadly crackdowns on protesters
Sudan’s embattled president, Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, remained
defiant Tuesday in the face of nationwide protests demanding his
ouster and U.S. concern over “credible reports” that his security
forces had killed more than three dozen demonstrators.
In a televised address, he accused “traitors, agents, mercenaries and
infiltrators” of exploiting the country’s “economic difficulties to do
sabotage in the service of Sudan’s enemies.”
“We know we have economic problems … but this is something we are
capable of handling,” Bashir, who has ruled Sudan for 29 years, said
as he waved his cane and insisted Western nations had besieged Sudan
because of its adherence to Islam.
He was speaking from Wad Madani, a small city south of the capital,
Khartoum, where hundreds of demonstrators were attempting to march on
the presidential palace.
Amnesty International said it had “credible reports” that security
forces had used live ammunition on demonstrators, killing a total of
37 over the last week. The government put the toll at 12.
“People have reached the phase of ‘victory or death,’ because the
regime is so reviled,” Awad said.
“It don’t know if the people can win on their own against the regime,”
he said. “We need international interference. It’s honestly horrifying
Congo opposition cry foul over web-enabled voting machines @Reuters
Opposition candidates in this weekend’s presidential election in
Democratic Republic of Congo demanded on Tuesday that the electoral
board deactivate SIM cards in voting machines to prevent the
electronic transmission of results.
The opposition are up in arms because active SIM cards could allow the
electoral board (CENI) to tabulate the vote electronically, despite
repeated assurances the results would be based on hand counts of paper
print-outs from the machines.
Disputes about the largely untested machines have stoked tensions
ahead of Sunday’s long-anticipated election, which the CENI postponed
from this past weekend due to delays deploying voting materials.
Seven opposition candidates, including one of the favourites in the
race, Martin Fayulu, called on mobile phone operators to deactivate
the SIM cards, which the CENI earlier admitted had been fitted in the
On Monday, CENI president Corneille Nangaa acknowledged in an
interview with France’s TV5 Monde that the machines had been fitted
with SIM cards. But he insisted the machines would only be connected
to the internet after the results had been announced based on a manual
However, four diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told
Reuters that the CENI had informed them that it would announce partial
results within days of the vote based on electronic transmissions.
MTN says resolves Nigeria dispute, makes $53 mln payment -MTN on Twitter
LAGOS (Reuters) - South Africa’s MTN Group has resolved a dispute with
Nigeria’s central bank and made a $53 million payment, the telecoms
company said in a message posted on Twitter on Monday.
Nigeria’s central bank had said $8.1 billion in dividends paid by MTN
Nigeria to its parent company between 2007 and 2015 and sent back to
South Africa were illegal and should be returned.
While the west African country’s regulator had accused MTN of
illegally transferring the funds out of the country, MTN denied any
“MTN resolves Nigeria dividend issue, makes $53m payment, engaging
with banks regarding the agreement,” it said on Twitter.
Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, accounting for a third of its annual
core profit, but has proved problematic in recent years.
Around two years ago MTN agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle
a dispute over SIM cards in Nigeria.
In a separate case, MTN faces a $2 billion tax demand from Nigeria’s
In secretive Eritrea, historic reforms across the border have sparked hopes for the future @globeandmail's @geoffreyyork
Yacob, a thin young man in jeans and a T-shirt, glances nervously at
the café entrance as he confesses to the crime that could send him to
prison at any moment: He has dared to walk away from his mandatory
assignment to a menial government job.
Instead of toiling at his conscripted job, Yacob uses illegal U.S.
currency to buy smuggled cellphones, which he sells to customers at a
tiny shop in Asmara, the Eritrean capital. To dodge prison, he avoids
the streets late at night, when police could check his documents and
demand proof that he is complying with his compulsory state service.
“It scares the hell out of me even to talk to you,” he says, watching
the café door for anyone who might spot him talking to a foreigner.
"There is no freedom here. You can’t hide anything from the
government. If they know you have dollars in your pocket, you go to
prison. If they want to get you, they can get you in a second. And in
prison, they torture you.”
Eritrea, an arid and impoverished country on the Red Sea, remains the
most isolated and tightly controlled dictatorship in Africa – despite
political changes in the Horn of Africa that have sparked growing
demands for a loosening of the chains.
Sometimes called the North Korea of Africa, although the analogy is
imperfect, Eritrea has never held a national election since its
independence referendum in 1993. Much of the private economy is
banned, thousands of prisoners are held incommunicado for years
without trial and most adults are conscripted into service in the
military or government for indefinite terms that can continue for 20
years or more.
These abuses are largely hidden from the global spotlight. Most
foreign media outlets are routinely barred from entering Eritrea, with
their visa requests ignored or rejected. Even if they manage to visit
Asmara, they are prohibited from travelling outside the capital
without a travel permit, which can be impossible to obtain. The regime
is so secretive that it would not confirm the attempted assassination
of a senior cabinet minister on Dec. 19, despite widespread reports in
Despite its tiny economy and its small population of about four
million, Eritrea holds an outsized importance on the African
continent. Its location on the Red Sea, gateway to the Suez Canal for
8 per cent of global shipping traffic and 2.5 per cent of the world’s
oil output, gives it a strategic value to the world’s superpowers. Its
ports have long been attractive to larger countries. A senior U.S.
diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy, visited Eritrea in
early December – one of the highest-ranking U.S. visits in the past
Eritrea, located near the hot spots of Yemen and Somalia, has played a
role in several regional conflicts in the Horn of Africa and the
Middle East. One of its Middle Eastern neighbours, the United Arab
Emirates, has already opened a naval base in Eritrea, allowing its
troops and military aircraft to strike targets in Yemen in the current
war there. Until recently, the UN has accused Eritrea of providing
weapons to Islamist militants in Somalia. Eritrea has also been among
the leading sources of migrants to Europe, leading to an outpouring of
development aid from the European Union to try to stem the migration
National service is officially limited to 18 months, yet in practice,
it often continues indefinitely, leaving many Eritreans locked into
unlimited servitude for as little as $2 a day.
“Vision through toil,” the government exhorts its citizens in
propaganda posters throughout the country, illustrated by images of
industrious factory workers and mine workers. Jobs and travel require
proof that citizens have fulfilled their national-service obligations.
“There have to be changes,” says Abraham, a middle-aged man nursing a
glass of tea in an Asmara café. “If there are no changes, we can’t
survive – it’s over, we are finished.”
He blames the country’s long-ruling regime for killing the economy by
banning private construction and imposing indefinite conscription.
Like many Eritreans, he spends hours on satellite TV watching the
speeches of Ethiopia’s new 42-year-old Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who
has brought extraordinary changes to Ethiopia’s political and economic
landscape. “We need a young smart leader like Abiy,” he says.
“Abiy is a brilliant man. I admire him so much. When he came to
Asmara, people were crying with joy. That’s the kind of leader we
“Those people sitting in Canada eating ice cream are trouble makers,
trying to blackmail us,” says Mokonen Goitom, a senior official in
Eritrea’s Culture and Sports Commission. “They are lazy people who sit
in bars and criticize the government.”
Within a few weeks, vehicles were allowed to cross the border. By
September, a fast-growing informal trade in Ethiopian goods had
developed, allowing a steep reduction in the price of basic food
supplies in Eritrea. The price of pasta, potatoes and other staples
has dropped by two-thirds or more – a rare glimmer of economic good
news for the country.
On the outskirts of Asmara, a vast new market has sprung up to sell
Ethiopian goods, with plastic-roofed sheds and tents stretching into
the distance. People call it the “Peace Market.” Trucks and cars, many
with Ethiopian licence plates, rumble in and out of the market with
loads of goods. Horse-drawn wooden carts enter and leave, carrying
purchases to shops in Asmara.
Top 10 best and worst performing stocks of 2018 @bd_africa
Express Kenya , whose chief executive Hector Diniz lodged an
unsuccessful takeover bid earlier this year, leads with a gain of 48
per cent, from Sh3.75 to Sh5.55 a share.
The bid failed after he was unable to garner support of shareholders
holding a minimum combined stake of 75 per cent.
KenolKobil is second with a gain of 40 per cent to Sh19.60. the oil
marketer is currently the subject of a takeover bid by French firm
Rubis Energie, which has offered existing shareholders Sh23 a share
for their stake.
Unga Group , which like Express was the subject of a failed bid by US
conglomerate Seaboard Corporation—which is a shareholder in the firm—
has gained 35.5 per cent this year to Sh39.30, mostly due to the price
rally during the offer period.
The only other companies with a positive movement in price this year
are Barclays Kenya , up 16.1 per cent to Sh11.90, Total Kenya at 13.8
per cent to Sh26.75, Kapchorua Tea at 13 per cent to Sh74 and Stanbic
Holdings at 9.3 per cent to Sh88.50.
The worst performing stock this year is Deacons East Africa , whose
value has nearly been wiped out at -87.1 per cent.
Financial difficulties have forced the fashion retailer to go into
administration, and subsequently the stock has been suspended from
trading at the NSE with a last trading price of just 45 cents. It had
opened the year at Sh3.50.
Kenya Orchards has shed 85.6 per cent, going down from Sh97 a share
in January to Sh14 on December 21. The stock fell victim to a little
known rule in the NSE on September 18, which states that companies
lose their daily price movement protection of 10 per cent if they have
not traded for three continuous months.
“NSE daily trading rules indicate that the daily price movement for
any equity security in a single trading session shall not be more than
10 per cent of the equity reference price. However, this does not
apply for a security that has not traded for over three calendar
months, as was the case for Kenya Orchards,” said the CMA in their
quarter three market soundness report.
Uchumi , which has been beset by financial problems that have seen it
delay reporting its financial results for the year ending June 2018 by
seven months, has shed 83.7 per cent of its value, dropping to 75
cents from Sh4.60 in January.
The cash strapped retailer was supposed to have released the results
by October as required by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA)
regulations but is now blaming its deep financial woes for the delay.
Other significant losers include Nairobi Business Ventures (-65.7 per
cent to Sh1.15) and Kenya Power (-62.6 per cent to Sh3.40).
The power firm has been beset by corporate governance troubles, with
two of its former CEOs and other top management staff in court on
Eveready East Africa , East Africa Cables , ARM Cement , Kenya Airways
and Home Afrika round off the rest of the top 10 losers list, with
share price declines of 57.8, 57.3, 55.4 and 51.9 per cent
respectively this year.