|Thursday 22nd of January 2015
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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
"The ISIS Leader Does Not Exist"
Law & Politics
As The New York Times exposed in 2007, Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi,
the titular head of the Islamic State, according to Brigadier General
Kevin Bergner - the chief American military spokesman at the time -
never existed (and was actually a fictional character whose
audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu
Via The New York Times (2007),
For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent
groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid
As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization
publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of
incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he
had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered
On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new
explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.
Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military
spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional
character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly
actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima.
The ruse, Bergner said, was devised by Abu Ayub al-Masri, the
Egyptian-born leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, who was trying to
mask the dominant role that foreigners play in that insurgent
The ploy was to invent Baghdadi, a figure whose very name establishes
his Iraqi pedigree, install him as the head of a front organization
called the Islamic State of Iraq and then arrange for Masri to swear
allegiance to him. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, sought
to reinforce the deception by referring to Baghdadi in his video and
What a thought.
Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.1605 The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1592 at 2:24 p.m. in
Tokyo. It slid to $1.1460 on Jan. 16, the weakest level since November
Dollar Index 92.84
Japan Yen 118.24
Swiss Franc 0.8622
India Rupee 61.555
South Korea Won 1086.23
Brazil Real 2.6007
Egypt Pound 7.3498
South Africa Rand 11.5218
The dollar is the biggest gainer in the past week against nine
developed-nation peers tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted
Indexes. It has risen 1.7 percent, while the euro advanced 1.3 percent
and the yen fell 0.3 percent.
The kiwi and Aussie were the biggest decliners among 31 major
developed currencies yesterday, behind Canada's dollar, after the
nation's central bank unexpectedly cut its key rate to 0.75 percent
from 1 percent, where it had been since 2010.
Australia's dollar fell 0.2 percent to 80.68 U.S. cents today. New
Zealand's currency dropped 0.3 percent to 75.29 U.S. cents, after
touching 75.16, the weakest since June 2012.
12-JAN-2015 The euro/dollar exchange rate is headed to parity and even lower in 2015.
I know Goldman Sachs has a parity call for euro/dollar in 2016, but I
think the unravelling will happen in 2015 and a lot more quickly. The
economic blowback from the frozen conflict in Ukraine with Russia has
exacted a price, as well. Economics and geopolitics are more
intertwined than ever before. If European bond yields - they are at
record all-time lows - are the 'signal in the noise', then this means
Europe is in danger of a major 'death-spiral'.
Hotel Il Pellicano Is a Tuscan Dream WSJ
ON A BALMY NIGHT in early October, on a cliff above the Tuscan
coastline of Monte Argentario, near the town of Porto Ercole, Italy, a
group has gathered around the pool at Hotel Il Pellicano. The hotel's
longtime barman, Federico Morosi, is pouring cocktails for the guests,
who are here to celebrate the end of the summer season on the
candlelit terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It could be a scene
from any of the five decades the hotel has been open. Among those
sampling duck polenta from a 1950s-style yellow truck parked on the
stone patio are a cosmopolitan mix
Crude Oil 3 day Chart INO 47.45
WTI for March delivery decreased as much as 55 cents to $47.23 a
barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and
was at $47.53 at 2:50 p.m. Singapore time. The contract rose $1.31 to
$47.78 on Wednesday. The volume of all futures traded was about 35
percent below the 100-day average.
Gold 3 month INO 1292.57 [highest since August 2014]
Gold for immediate delivery fell 0.4 percent to $1,287.43 an ounce on
Thursday, after advancing a day earlier to $1,305.25, the highest
price since Aug. 15.
DR Congo unrest: Catholic Church backs protests
The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo has thrown its
weight behind protests against President Joseph Kabila extending his
It called on people to peacefully oppose his move to delay
presidential elections until a census is held.
this does not bode well for President Kabila. The Catholic church is a
formidable Force in the DRC.
10-NOV-2014 Ouagadougou's Signal to Sub-Sahara Africa
The tipping point for this accelerated sequence of events was
President Compaoré stacking parliament in order to extend the
presidential term limit. There are plenty of African presidents who
are seeking to pull off the same magic trick and events in Ouagadougou
have surely put them on notice.
Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: "After the Arab
Spring, this is the Black Spring".
During the Arab Spring [now in the bleak mid-Winter], nearly all
commentators spoke of how this North African wildfire could not leap
the Sahara and head to sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons were that the
State [incumbents] had a monopoly on the tools of violence and would
bring overwhelming force and violence to bear. We need to ask
ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such
a situation - 100, 1,000, 10,000? This is another point: there is a
threshold beyond which the incumbent can't go. Where that threshold
lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.
Therefore, the preeminent point to note is that protests in Burkina
Faso achieved escape velocity.
Congo: 'Katumbi will decide the election' January 20, 2015 6:53 pm @FT Subscriber @KatrinaManson
As concerns grow that President Kabila could delay next year's poll or
amend the constitution to run for a third term, support is growing for
the popular governor of Katanga to enter the fray.
Moise Katumbi has two of the biggest jobs in the Democratic Republic
of Congo. He is the governor of Katanga, a mineral-rich province of
5.6m people roughly the size of Spain. He is chairman of TP Mazembe,
one of the best-run football clubs in sub-Saharan Africa, a role that
has made him very popular. And now many expect the wealthy and
charismatic 50-year-old to seek an even bigger title: president.
Once an ally of President Joseph Kabila, Mr Katumbi has lately been
sounding like a man ready to unseat him. "Congo is the elephant of
Africa," he told the Financial Times in an interview last year. "Now,
it's a dead elephant. Let's lift this elephant to go far."
Speculation about Mr Katumbi's intentions intensified last month, when
he gave a rousing homecoming speech after a mysterious three-month
illness. Using football metaphors, he asked the crowd whether they
would accept the possibility that Mr Kabila would seek a third term --
the president's re-election in 2011 was widely perceived to have been
the result of rigged polls -- when his mandate expires next year. "No!"
the crowd roared back.
That sentiment has been expressed by others, notably John Kerry, US
secretary of state. On a visit to Congo last year, he said Mr Kabila,
in office since 2001, "has an opportunity, which he understands, to be
able to put the country on a continued path to democracy".
Already, there are worrying signs that Mr Kabila may have other ideas.
Clashes between opposition protesters and security forces erupted on
the streets of Kinshasa and other cities on Monday, leaving at least
four dead. Protesters say they fear Mr Kabila will alter the
constitution to allow him to seek another term, or that a proposed
census could be used as a tactic to delay the election. Opposition
leaders were arrested yesterday as the demonstrations continued, and
internet and telephone connections were blocked in the capital.
Twelve years after the end of "Africa's great war" -- a conflict so
calamitous that it sucked in eight neighbours -- Congo faces a new
test: can it ensure a peaceful transfer of power? The answer matters
not just for the country's prospects for democracy, investment and
stability, but for the entire continent.
The vast resource-rich country should be the economic powerhouse at
the heart of Africa. Damming its river could solve the power problems
of the continent. Its mining dollars and farming potential could
transform the nation, securing growth and stability for millions of
"Congo should be a Brazil, the engine of sub-Saharan Africa, whether
hydropower or farming or mining," says Aly-Khan Satchu, an investment
adviser on east Africa. "If they fired on all cylinders it would be a
massive positive and a lift-off moment for them and the rest of the
region all the way up to Kenya."
Instead Congo is the second least-developed country in the world,
after Niger. Corruption, dysfunction and rebellions in the east as
well as Katanga have deterred investment, and the state is noticeable
mainly by its absence. Donors and investors have poured billions of
dollars into the country since the 1998-2003 war while the UN still
has 21,000 peacekeepers in the country, but nation-building has barely
started. Average annual income stands at $390 per person; 88 per cent
of its 70m people live in poverty.
These problems are longstanding -- Congo suffered well before
independence from Belgium in 1960 -- but they have been exacerbated by
Mr Kabila, who became president after his father was assassinated in
What the 43-year-old Mr Kabila will do in 2016, when he is
constitutionally obliged to step down, is being closely watched. "This
is about the peace process that began in 1999 -- if Kabila tears up the
constitution it threatens to unroll the progress made since the end of
the war," says Jason Stearns, a writer who has served on the UN Group
of Experts on the Congo.
"There is so much internal dissent around Kabila that if he stays in
power, regardless of how he does that, it could provoke such an
internal crisis it could go any number of routes. Stability in a
country that has large natural resources and potential for growth all
hinges on the 2016 question."
But Mr Kabila, who has not made public his plans for 2016, has never
been very good at responding to questions. "He tries to own time --
indecision or slow decision-making has been the key characteristic
ofKabila's presidency," says Hans Hoebeke at International Crisis
Congo's government came to a virtual standstill for 14 months until Mr
Kabila delivered a long-promised cabinet reshuffle only last month.
Western diplomats say ministers halted new initiatives for more than a
year and instead lined their pockets.
"As a survival strategy, indecision and delay serves him well up to a
point," says Mr Hoebeke. "But of course it plunges the country into a
perpetual crisis in which nothing really moves at all."
Although much of the messy, corrupt and dysfunctional status quo has
been preserved under Mr Kabila since he assumed the presidency after
his father, Laurent-Désiré was assassinated in 2001, Congo has chalked
up some improvements. The economy has left behind runaway
hyperinflation under Mr Mobutu in the mid-1990s, scoring unprecedented
macroeconomic stability, growing at 8.7 per cent last year and earning
the praise of the IMF.
Reform, slow and marginal as it is, comes not from the president but
from the prime minister's office, which has overhauled public
administration under Augustin Matata Ponyo, ex-finance minister,
darling of the west and champion of setting up bank accounts for the
masses. Unlike other ministries and agencies of state where staff,
ill-equipped with electricity, stationery and desks, regularly sleep
or scowl their way through the day, workers at his offices tend to
arrive at the kempt buildings by 7am, pressing their fingers to
biometric readers to enter. Receptionists answer phones with a smile
and reply to emails.
"It's nothing to do with modern administration but it's much better
than it was," says Michel Losembe, president of the Congolese bankers'
South Africa All Share Bloomberg -0.31% 2015
49,588.79 +464.02 +0.94%
Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 11.5189
Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 7.3506
Egypt's pound weakened to 7.34 per dollar from 7.29 the previous day
at a central bank auction, the weakest level it has been allowed to
reach since auctions began in December 2012 and the fourth official
depreciation this week.
Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg +10.45% 2015
9,856.30 +52.12 +0.53%
Nigeria All Share Bloomberg -14.13% 2015
29,759.04 -60.35 -0.20%
Naira Trading Halts as Dealers Body Calls for Emergency Meeting
Trading in the naira halted as the association for Nigeria's
foreign-exchange dealers met to discuss liquidity in the market a day
after the central bank held interest rates.
The Financial Markets Dealers Association of Nigeria called a "closed
door" meeting Wednesday morning in Lagos to talk about "how the market
can remain open," Chief Executive Officer Wale Abe said by phone from
the commercial capital.
Trading in the naira was crushed in December after the central bank
attempted to stop speculation by forcing banks to clear their dollar
forward positions daily. The currency of Africa's largest oil producer
has fallen 14 percent against the dollar in the past six months, as
crude prices have more than halved since June to under $50 a barrel.
"The market is not trading so far this morning," Samir Gadio, head of
African strategy at Standard Chartered Plc, said by phone from London.
"There hasn't been any trading because of this meeting."
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday kept the base rate at a record
high of 13 percent and ignored calls for a devaluation of the level at
which it sells naira at twice-weekly auctions from 168 per dollar,
plus or minus 5 percent. The Abuja-based regulator increased rates by
100 basis points and moved the currency's peg from 155 per dollar at
its previous meeting in November.
The naira was little changed at 189.05 against the dollar at 10:52
a.m. in Lagos.
Kenya's GDP growth forecast for 2015 raised to 6.9 pc @BD_Africa
The Treasury said the economy likely expanded by 5.3 per cent last
year, but growth could be more robust this year, thanks to momentum
picking up in a range of sectors like farming, real estate and
"The growth outlook is promising due to continued implementation of
bold economic policies," the Treasury said in the document.
That GDP Forecast predicated on the SGR Roll-Out
Falling global oil prices begin to take toll on search work in Kenya Nation
Swala Energy, an Australian firm prospecting for oil and gas in
western Kenya, could exit without drilling a single well in the block
as the impact of falling global crude prices takes a toll on its
The firm said it had appointed UK's FirstEnergy as a financial adviser
in preparation for a merger or complete sale of the company.
This comes as falling global crude prices continue to impact
negatively on the upstream oil and gas sector, with some exploration
firms having already announced plans to reduce their budgets.
"Accordingly, Swala board of directors has appointed FirstEnergy to
manage a process with the view of reviewing the company's options to
maximise the long-term value of the company's potential including a
potential merger or sale of the company," reads a statement sent to
the Australian Securities Exchange.
Other than some bravura Talk out of @TullowOilPLC - This Oil business
has been halted dead in its tracks and stays there until we get above
$80.00 a Barrel
17-NOV-2014 Dwindling Oil Fortunes Not Good For Kenya
My concern at this moment is this: We are neces- sarily placing a big
bet on oil and gas and cementing our position as the pivot (the energy
conduit and route to the sea] state for this region. Now go take a
look at the price of oil. Its been slammed from above a $100 a barrel
to below $80. There is an outside chance that we can break down to $50
a barrel. The share prices of the oil companies (Tullow Oil is down
45.84 per cent since the start of the year and Africa Oil is negative
60.67 per cent over the same period) have cratered. The markets are
signaling loud and clear that the economics have changed and how. Both
Tullow Oil and Africa Oil are exploration companies. They find the oil
and then they typically go and find a big major with deep pockets to
exploit the oil. It is imperative that we see the majors step in,
otherwise the can will get kicked down the road.
The consequential effects on our economy of the can being kicked down
the road are not good, not good at all.
Our policy-makers need to react real quick to the new normal. The
right signal at this point in time would be to slash the proposed
capital gains tax. It is always better to tax something rather than