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Currency volatility fell to the lowest level this year
Currency volatility fell to the lowest level this year on speculation
that markets have sufficiently priced the probability of a U.S.
interest-rate increase in coming months, while polls show Hillary
Clinton expanding her lead over Donald Trump in the run-up to the
A gauge measuring swings in global currencies declined as the chances
for the Federal Reserve raising rates in December stood at 70 percent,
according to federal funds futures. The dollar fluctuated near a
seven-month high after rising for the past three weeks.
“There’s a realization the dollar’s moved a reasonable amount already
and you end up in this point where the markets are going to be
slightly cautious about chasing the dollar too aggressively,” said
Daragh Maher, head of U.S. currency strategy in New York at HSBC
Holdings Plc. “The preference of the market at the moment is still to
sell the euro for the dollar on rallies, maybe to buy the dollar for
the yen on any little dips, but I don’t think the extension in either
direction is going to be big.”
The JPMorgan Chase & Co. global currency volatility index fell to 9.3
percent, as of 5 p.m. in New York, reaching the lowest level since
Dec. 8. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which measures the U.S.
currency against 10 major counterparts, rose 0.1 percent and reached
the strongest level since March 16.
Strange messages coming from the stars are 'probably' from aliens, scientists say Independent
Scientists have heard hugely unusual messages from deep in space that
they think are coming from aliens.
A new analysis of strange modulations in a tiny set of stars appears
to indicate that it could be coming from extraterrestrial intelligence
that is looking to alert us to their existence.
The new study reports the finding of specific modulations in just 234
out of the 2.5 million stars that have been observed during a survey
of the sky. The work found that a tiny fraction of them seemed to be
Laureate of Terror Don DeLillo's prophetic soul. by Martin Amis 21 November 2011 New Yorker
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice
breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable
poignancy.” He checks in with his flight-dynamics and
conceptual-paradigm officers at Colorado Command (and we ask
ourselves—has there ever been a more distinctive exponent of dialogue
than Don DeLillo?):
“We have a deviate, Tomahawk.”
“We copy. There’s a voice.”
“We have gross oscillation here.”
“There’s some interference. I have gone redundant but I’m not sure
“We are clearing an outframe to locate source.”
“Thank you, Colorado.”
“It is probably just selective noise. You are negative red on the
“It was a voice,” I told them.
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise. . . . We will
correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of
repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest
sadness”: “Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programs of
forty, fifty, sixty years ago.”
"Temporal bandwidth," is the width of your present, your now. It is
the familiar "âˆ† t" considered as a dependent variable. The more you
dwell in the past and in the future, the thicker your bandwidth, the
more solid your persona. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more
tenuous you are.
Britons Happy to Sacrifice Trade for Fewer Foreigners, Poll Says [Thats a Fact]
Law & Politics
Britons are more concerned with controlling immigration than
maintaining access to the single market, according to a survey
published Tuesday, adding further evidence that Prime Minister Theresa
May’s Brexit strategy is in line with the prevailing mood of the
As Britain prepares to exit the European Union, over half of adults
polled cite an influx of foreigners as more worrisome than losing EU
trade benefits, said the poll conducted by Survation Ltd for ITV plc.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they approve May’s handling of
the divorce, with only a quarter saying that they disapproved.
Obama knew video of Trump boasting of sexual advances would change presidential race @bpolitics
Law & Politics
President Barack Obama says he knew right away the video of Donald
Trump crudely describing unwanted advances on women would change the
The president said on ABC-TV’s "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Monday night
that he listened to the Republican presidential nominee’s comments on
Oct. 7, the day the video was made public by the Washington Post.
Obama said that if an ordinary office worker had a similar video come
out, “It’d be a problem for him.” “And he’s not running for
president,” Obama said.
Trump has said the 2005 video amounted to “locker room talk” and that
he never undertook the actions he described, although a series of
women subsequently accused the billionaire businessman of
inappropriately groping them. He has denied the allegations.
The president used his late-night appearance to mock Trump.
During Kimmel’s “mean tweets” segment, Obama read a missive from Trump
declaring that Obama would go down as “perhaps the worst president in
the history of the United States.”
“Well, @realdonaldtrump, at least I will go down as a president of the
United States,” Obama shot back.
For Putin, once dismissed by the White House as a "regional" player, the long shadow he has cast over the elections is a triumph
Law & Politics
With the U.S. now threatening unspecified retaliation, Putin could be
at risk of overplaying his hand, alienating the incoming
administration if Trump loses.
But with ties strained, the Kremlin may reckon it has little to lose.
Relations with Clinton have been frosty since at least 2011, when
Putin accused the then-secretary of state of encouraging protesters to
take to the streets in opposition to his rule. As president, she’d
have the backing of Republicans in Congress, who don’t share Trump’s
enthusiasm for the Russian leader.
“Putin is absolutely convinced that as long as he is president, the
West has no intention of improving relations with Russia and that the
West’s goal is his overthrow,’’ said Solve.
Keeping the Kremlin at the center of a chaotic U.S. campaign is a big
propaganda win for the Kremlin.
“Putin and Russia have become practically the central themes of the
American elections,’’ said Alexei Chesnakov, a former Kremlin
political staffer. “That of course is beneficial, since it underlines
the status of the country and its leader.’’
Iran: Inside the battle to succeed supreme leader Khamenei FT
Law & Politics
The final judgment may rest with God. But there is a lot of
manoeuvring in Tehran to influence the decision on who will be Iran’s
next supreme leader. There is no public succession plan for the most
powerful position in the Islamic republic, which has been entrusted
since 1989 to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Discussion of the subject is all
but forbidden while the 77-year-old remains active, delivering
speeches and attending military parades.
“Rouhani and his team want to use the shock of the nuclear agreement
to push for fast economic and political reforms with the help of the
US,” says a relative of Ayatollah Khamenei. “But the supreme leader is
wary that this rush would make the system vulnerable to US
Ayatollah Khamenei rarely cries during public speeches. So when state
media showed him bursting into tears at a March meeting of the
Experts’ Assembly, the clerical body tasked with choosing his
successor should he die during its eight-year term, viewers found it
shocking. “Infiltration [into Iran’s political system] is a serious
plot by Americans,” he told senior clerics. “This infiltration has
targeted officials … to make decisions that it [the US] pursues … and
make people change belief in political Islam.”
Tata Sons in Turmoil After Chairman's 'Bizarre' Ousting
Ratan Tata took back control of India’s biggest conglomerate after
Chairman Cyrus Mistry abruptly ended his four-year reign over the $100
billion coffee-to-steel business empire.
Tata, 78, will be interim head of the group while a panel appointed by
the company searches for a replacement. Mistry, 48, was named to
replace Tata as chairman in December 2012.
The move threatens to leave a vacuum in the group at a time when
Mistry was raising cash, refinancing loans and selling assets after
writing them down, in an attempt to tackle mounting debt. Tata Steel
Ltd., which bought Corus Group Plc in 2007, has been cutting
operations in the U.K. since the 2008 global financial crisis.
“This is just too bizarre that the chairman of the biggest industrial
group in the country has been removed in such an arbitrary manner,”
Gaurang Shah, vice president at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services
Ltd. in Mumbai, said by phone. “The Tata Group owes an explanation so
to why such a sudden decision has been taken. There will be some
knee-jerk reaction on the stock prices of Tata Group companies.”
Africa Tilts as Winners Emerge From the Commodities Slump
East African countries are integrating into a robust regional market
as energy exporters on the other side of the continent struggle to
Most African economies, though, aren’t in the oil business. For them,
lower fuel costs support growth and living standards. So fortunes are
set to diverge across the continent. In fact, the narrative could
change from “Africa Rising” to “Africa Tilting” as commodity exporters
in West, Central, and Southern Africa struggle to find new sources of
growth, while East African economies develop and integrate into a more
robust—and potentially huge—regional market.
From 2010 to 2014, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa averaged 5.2
percent. After oil prices plunged in 2014, growth slowed to 3.4
percent in 2015. It’s likely to be weaker still in 2016, but the
decline in aggregate terms largely reflects slowdowns in Nigeria,
fellow oil exporter Angola, and South Africa. The three countries
accounted for about 60 percent of sub-Saharan GDP in 2015 but less
than 30 percent of its population.
Deeper integration, better-functioning markets, and improved
infrastructure could all bear fruit as the continent pursues other
sources of growth.
East Africa is leading the way. The African Development Bank, in its
inaugural Africa Regional Integration Index Report, rated the East
African Community—Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and
Uganda—as the top-performing regional economic community on the
continent. The report finds that the EAC has advanced furthest in
reducing cross-border barriers to trade and other economic activity
and is ahead of its peers in the categories of trade and productive
Deeper integration should create larger markets, enabling companies to
specialize more and reap economies of scale. That could support an
expansion of manufacturing, which is needed to boost growth and
Economies in East Africa are generally small. Incomes are low, with
most people earning the equivalent of only a few U.S. dollars per day.
As a result, foreign investors have focused instead on larger
economies, such as those of Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, and on
companies like banks, brewers, and cement makers that are located
close to market.
Some global manufacturers have lately been looking at opportunities in
Kenya: Volkswagen plans to assemble cars at a plant north of Nairobi,
the government announced in September. Kenya’s economy is doing well
in its own right, with GDP growing 6.2 percent in the second quarter.
Also helping to attract interest is the East African Common Market,
launched in 2010 to enable the free movement of goods, people,
capital, and services across the region.
Transport links, such as the Standard Gauge Railway, are also
encouraging investors. Kenya’s state-owned rail company, with
financing from China, is developing the first phase, which will
connect the port city of Mombasa to Nairobi. The 472-kilometer section
is slated to open in July 2017. Eventually, the railway will run to
Kampala in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda, and Bujumbura in Burundi. Once
complete, the network will expand from serving 44 million Kenyans to
more than 160 million people in EAC countries.
Additional links have the potential to create an enormous market.
Further investments in transportation over the medium term, such as
the planned Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopian Transport corridor and an
extension of the single-gauge railway, could broaden the reach of the
East African Common Market to the vast Democratic Republic of Congo
and fast-growing Ethiopia. While improving links to the western parts
of the DRC will take considerable time, connections there and to
Ethiopia would bring in 180 million potential customers. This would
create a market with more people than the U.S. and—in time, given the
difference in population growth—the European Union.
Once the adjustment to lower commodity prices is over, Africa’s
economic center of gravity may shift eastward as these countries grow.
Young people in Nigeria put their dreams on hold FT
Muhammad Abubakar, 28, wanted to study computer science. His friend
Usman Aliyu, 26, wanted to be a land surveyor. Instead, both sell
mobile phones. “Investment House” is what they call the kiosks where
they work in the Nigerian city of Gusau. It sits in the shadows of an
abandoned building site that in 2008 was going to be the state
government’s investment promotion council. Like the friends’ dreams,
it didn’t work out.
It is a reminder of an inescapable fact of their lives. “You can’t
trust politicians because no matter what, if you enter politics in
Africa, you are already corrupt,” says Abubakar. “We the youths don’t
have someone in the government,” adds Aliyu, illustrating another
annoying fact of life for them. As much as some young people in a
country such as Nigeria hate politics, they know they need an ally on
the inside to get anywhere: in their case, to set up their kiosk
Faced with a system that makes it impossible for them to attend
university, to save money, to buy a home — the friends say they often
think about what options they have.
Their first choice — leaving the country — is not open. “Ever since
that guy tried to blow up the plane, few people from here have been
granted visas to study in the US,” says Aliyu. He explains that he is
referring to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 “underwear bomber”,
whose family is from nearby Funtua.
Changing the system — their second choice — is equally impossible,
they say. Having considered protests, like the ones in the Middle
East, they are convinced “that won’t work in Nigeria”, citing the
corrupt security forces, the politicians who divide the people and
their fear of being involved in violence, which they are sure would
break out if they attempted protests.
One of the more dispiriting things about reporting in west Africa
these days is the number of smart, hardworking young people I meet who
feel trapped, who know their hopes, realistically, are not achievable.
In Accra I met Akosua Agyepong, a student bursting with ideas about
how to improve access to family planning for Ghanaians in rural areas
like the place in which her parents grew up.
She tells me about a mentoring programme she runs at her rundown
school. She asked the students: “What do you want to do, where do you
see yourself going?” She met blank stares. “They live in a very small
setting, they are so confined, they don’t think they are anything. If
those children had access to the internet, or even televisions, do you
think they would be thinking so small?”
It is hard to think of a country in Africa where young people are not
fed up. The continent will have the world’s largest working-age
population by 2034 but economic growth is not keeping pace.
In South Africa, students are clashing with the police at universities
as they demand free education. In Ethiopia, economic growth led by an
increasingly autocratic government has failed to trickle down to the
young masses, some of whom are participating in anti-government
protests being quashed by the state. And in Senegal, droves of young
men are making for the Sahara, fleeing poverty and pinning their hopes
on life in Europe.
Meanwhile, Olivia Mukam-Wandji, a Cameroonian entrepreneur I met on
Twitter, tells me how sad she was to come home from studying in the US
to find people her age “disempowered, disillusioned, disengaged”.
She understands why, she says, sharing stories of friends who have had
to spend six years trying to earn a three-year degree because of
professors’ strikes and bureaucracy.
At a restaurant in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé, a friend of a friend —
a woman in her 40s — tells me that many young people she knows are
desperate to leave. Most can’t because of poverty, she says, “but
their heads are no longer here. They have no hope. So they drink a
This is clearly but one dynamic on a diverse continent of 1bn people.
The good news is that those who are given opportunities run with them.
Witness the success of young designers in Abidjan and techies in
There’s no doubt this generation needs more leaders to believe in.
They will have to be men and women who give them reasons to think they
can realise their dreams — at home, not on the far side of the
NSE-listed Atlas doubts return to London bourse after suspension
Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Atlas African Industries says it is
doubtful of a return to the London Stock Exchange where it was
suspended on October 17 following the resignation of its nominated
The company also halted trading on the NSE’s Growth Enterprise Market
Segment (GEMS) the next day, making the stock illiquid for existing
and prospective shareholders.
Atlas’ suspension was to last until it hired a new Nomad but the
company says it is uncertain the appointment will be done, adding that
it is looking at listing at another exchange other than the London
Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Among other roles, a Nomad advises its clients on their listing
obligations including compliance with the Capital Markets (Securities)
(Public Offers, Listing and Disclosure) Regulations, 2002.
Atlas said its Nomad, Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited, resigned because
its specialty in the oil and gas industry did not match the company’s
current principal activity of sports betting.
“We cannot confirm that we will retain our AIM listing following this
date,” the company wrote to shareholders on Friday, adding that it
remains committed to a London-based listing in the short term.
Consequences Intended or Unintended @TheStarKenya :: 24-OCT-2016
Credit to the private sector has been slowing sharply and last
registered a +7.07 per cent expansion in July 2016 versus levels above
20 per cent July 2015
Another consequence is that the Act surely accelerates consolidation
in the banking sector. e deposit flight to quality post, the Imperial
and Dubai Bank developments coupled with the caps and floors, have
surely made consolidation all but inevitable. However, merging
sub-optimal balance sheets will not necessarily work. ere is a
requirement to infuse more equity capital.
24-OCT-2016 the market is betting if anyone can do what Michael can. @TheStarKenya
The recovery in Kenya Airways’ share price has been entirely
correlated to Michael Joseph’s quick accession to the chairman’s
position at the airline. The share price has ramped +50 per cent
higher over four short weeks. There is a big job to be done at the
airline, which spans cancelling all fuel hedging, proper oversight
over forex and Treasury and much more. Optimising the balance sheet
needs someone real, credible at the head of future negotiations, and
the market is betting if anyone can do what Michael can.