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After Descent to Hell, Miners Emerge Blinking Into Daylight
When the biggest names in mining arrive in London this week, the
surroundings will be familiar, the mood unrecognisable.
A year ago as prices slumped, talk at the annual London Metal Exchange
gathering was of bloodletting and journeys through hell. On Tuesday,
the 1,900 dinner guests under the huge tulip-shaped chandeliers of the
Great Room in Park Lane’s Grosvenor House Hotel, will be relieved to
have survived the industry’s biggest crisis in decades.
“This time last year, I was talking about a commodity-specific
financial crisis,” said Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research
at Macquarie Group Ltd. “The rally in commodity prices has taken that
off the table. The foot is really off the throat.”
Cashew Prices Are About to Go Nuts
Get ready for some cashew sticker shock.
The global popularity of the kidney-shaped nut has been growing faster
than any other tree nut -- even almonds. Demand jumped 53 percent
since 2010, industry data show. Now the worst drought in a century for
Vietnam, the largest exporter, is raising concern that supplies will
be even tighter in a market valued at $5.2 billion.
A lack of rain in the once-fertile Mekong Delta and elsewhere in
Vietnam has cut output of its major agricultural exports including
rice, black pepper, coffee and seafood. This year’s cashew harvest
fell 11 percent, and domestic prices jumped by as much as a third to
an all-time high, a growers’ group estimates. That spells trouble for
buyers in the U.S., by far the biggest importer.
While peanuts, which grow underground, are by far the most popular in
the nut world, cashews have overtaken walnuts and pistachios in recent
years to trail only almonds in the $30 billion market for tree nuts,
International Nut and Dried Fruit Council data show. Global cashew
consumption in 2014, the most-recent data available, reached a record
716,682 metric tons, up from 469,241 tons in 2010, council data show.
The domestic price of raw nuts has jumped to 52,000 dong ($2.33) a
kilogram, the highest on record, from 38,000 dong at the start of the
year, according to the cashew association.
Comment: The house of cards has collapsed - Joseph Hanlon
Last week saw the final collapse of a house of cards built from greed
and hubris. Mozambique admitted it cannot pay its debts; last week it
was announced poverty and inequality increased; and it was accepted
that inflation will hit 30% and devaluation will exceed 100%. The
United States announced that LAM has accepted bribes from Brazil. And
then the mediators went home in frustration as an unwinnable war
continues, with Renamo demanding the impossible and Frelimo refusing
to make essential concessions.
The results of the poverty survey announced last week showed that
while in 2003, 55% of the rural population was below the poverty line,
it had only been reduced to 50% last year. Two decades of lack of
development mean that half the rural population is still below the
poverty line. And President Nyusi, speaking in Mopeia, admitted that
“very little” had been done to support agriculture – confirming what
Joao Mosca and others have been saying for more than a decade.
Frelimo has blown an incredible $3 billion. Not just the $2.2 bn in
secret debt, but extra money for the Katembe bridge, Nacala airport,
the Bank of Mozambique building, and the presidential palace, as well
as large state company debts. And last week the cost became clearer
with the admission that Maputo will not now have an essential bus
rapid transit system because it cannot guarantee the loan. This is
being repeated across the economy.
Last week, the house of cards collapsed. This week many people will be
trying to explain why they did not see that it was a house of cards
and will be trying to defend their positions – in some cases to
prevent themselves being dismissed, jailed, or losing contracts,
money, or the confidence of their superiors.
Threats of a demonstration on 29 April were met with new armoured cars
on the streets of Maputo. A demonstration scheduled for 21 May was
banned and an organiser of the march was beaten during an attempted
kidnap. Maputo has been quiet since then, despite an escalating cost
of living. But how long will ordinary people tolerate rising prices
and a bankrupt and ineffective government?
RDC: des revelations genantes pour la famille Kabila a la Une d'un journal belge RFI
Sensational revelations about the DRC in a Belgian daily "Le Soir".
They are mostly very embarrassing for the family of Joseph Kabila.
Jean-Jacques Lumumba, a senior officer of the BGFI (first central
African bank), slammed the door of the bank in Kinshasa bank close to
the family of the Congolese president, after refusing to be complicit
in suspicious transactions . He went then to deliver numerous and
compromising files to the Belgian daily.
At the heart of the revelations, there is a bank, BGFI. It is headed
by a childhood friend of Kabila, Francis Selemani Mtwale, very near
that grew up with him during the years of exile in Tanzania.
One of the documents released by the Belgian daily Le Soir shows for
example that one of the accounts of the Independent National Electoral
Commission (CENI) of Congo, which housed the money to finance
elections in the DRC, was regularly punctured and this under very
Why Magufuli visit to Kenya is crucial Nation
“I am hoping this visit might prove an opportunity to reset relations
and seek better alignment between our two countries. There is so much
to be gained from being collaborative rather than adversarial —
President Kenyatta has a ‘Bill Clinton charm’ and if I were advising
him I would say ‘look, reach in, cut through the noise and start
telling the Bulldozer that it needn’t be a zero sum game,” said
economic analyst and chief executive of Rich Management Aly-Khan
“Our relationship with our neighbour has been sub-optimal for a very
long time. There is an opportunity here to reset relations - I hope we
can seize it.”
Mr Satchu said that President Magufuli has captured the East African
imagination with his no-nonsense and populist style.
“He has some serious feathers in his cap already (the pipeline and the
railway are two very big “geopolitical” wins right there) so we need
to treat him as a worthy and already proven adversary,” said Mr
Kenya is "quite important to Tanzania," President John Magufuli told reporters upon arriving Monday in the northern neighbor's capital city, Nairobi, for a two-day visit.
Magufuli cited data from the Tanzania Investment Center, which reports
that 529 Kenyan companies have invested roughly $1.7 billion in
Tanzania, creating employment for about 56,000 Tanzanians.
Tanzania is the fastest-growing economy in East Africa, according to
the International Monetary Fund.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the countries would revive the
Kenya Tanzania Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) before year’s
end to enhance investment and trade.
The state visit “is meant to strengthen the relations between both
countries,” Kenyatta said, adding that if Kenya and Tanzania are to
expand their economies and create jobs for youth, then the countries
should “walk together."
Tension over Uganda pipeline
Economic relations between the two nations have been somewhat strained
In March, Uganda opted to run a large oil pipeline through Tanzania
instead of Kenya. Uganda cited security concerns and a price tag that
was $1 billion cheaper than the one proposed by Kenya.
Tanzania also won a deal to host a new railway that will connect the
Democratic Republic of Congo and the East African coast.
And just last month, Tanzania pushed the six-member East African
Community to delay signing an economic partnership agreement with the
European Union, which would guarantee traders duty-free access to the
EU market. Kenya supported signing the treaty. Besides Kenya, Tanzania
and Uganda, community members include Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan,
which joined this spring.
Economic analyst Aly Khan Satchu of Nairobi-based Rich Management said
this week’s state visit offers Kenyatta a chance to recalibrate
relations with Magufuli after a series of setbacks.
"He’s scored some big wins against Kenya," Satchu said of Magufuli,
citing the oil pipeline and railway deals, so he’s "a worthy
adversary, somebody who obviously very focused on the Tanzania
"But given the current situation," Satchu continued, "I think Kenya
would be wise to try and sort of reset existing relations, look at
what can be done to increase trade and seek better alignment as the
East African Community and the market open up."
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya is
Tanzania’s largest trading partner in Africa.