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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 16th of November 2018
 
Morning,
Africa

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David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold for $90.3m in New York on Thursday @guardian
Africa


In the picture, a smartly dressed man, standing on the edge of the
pool, looks pensively at another figure swimming toward him in
glistening waters, with an idyllic mountain view in the background.

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The single most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction was the eye-watering $450.3m paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi last year at @ChristiesInc's in New York @guardian
Africa


MBS, alleged owner of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi which is a
painting of Christ as Salvator Mundi (Latin for “Savior of the World”)
dated to 1500. The painting shows Jesus, in Renaissance dress, giving
a benediction with his right hand raised and two fingers extended,
while holding a transparent rock crystal orb in his left hand. The
rock crystal orb of course reappeared during Trump’s visit to the
Desert Kingdom. The painting is currently in the Louvre in Abu Dhabi
because the ‘’optics’’ of this $450m purchase did not sit well with
being the son and heir to the kingdom. The king is called the
custodian of the two holy mosques after all. MBS is also the proud
owner of Serene [the yacht] which he bought for 500m Euros in 2015,
while vacationing in the south of France. Bruce Reidel alleges MBS
sleeps on the Serene off Jeddah because he too lives in fear for his
life.

Macro Thoughts

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Is the Aeneid a Celebration of Empire - or a Critique? @NewYorker
Africa


Since the end of the first century A.D., people have been playing a
game with a certain book. In this game, you open the book to a random
spot and place your finger on the text; the passage you select will,
it is thought, predict your future. If this sounds silly, the results
suggest otherwise. The first person known to have played the game was
a highborn Roman who was fretting about whether he’d be chosen to
follow his cousin, the emperor Trajan, on the throne; after opening
the book to this passage—

I recognize that he is that king of Rome,
Gray headed, gray bearded, who will formulate
The laws for the early city . . .

—he was confident that he’d succeed. His name was Hadrian.

Through the centuries, others sought to discover their fates in this
book, from the French novelist Rabelais, in the early sixteenth
century (some of whose characters play the game, too), to the British
king Charles I, who, during the Civil War—which culminated in the loss
of his kingdom and his head—visited an Oxford library and was alarmed
to find that he’d placed his finger on a passage that concluded, “But
let him die before his time, and lie / Somewhere unburied on a lonely
beach.” Two and a half centuries later, as the Germans marched toward
Paris at the beginning of the First World War, a classicist named
David Ansell Slater, who had once viewed the very volume that Charles
had consulted, found himself scouring the same text, hoping for a
portent of good news.

What was the book, and why was it taken so seriously? The answer lies
in the name of the game: sortes vergilianae. The Latin noun sortes
means lots—as in “drawing lots,” a reference to the game’s element of
chance. The adjective vergilianae, which means “having to do with
Vergilius,” identifies the book: the works of the Roman poet Publius
Vergilius Maro, whom we know as Virgil.

For a long stretch of Western history, few people would have found it
odd to ascribe prophetic power to this collection of Latin verse. Its
author, after all, was the greatest and the most influential of all
Roman poets. A friend and confidant of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor,
Virgil was already considered a classic in his own lifetime: revered,
quoted, imitated, and occasionally parodied by other writers, taught
in schools, and devoured by the general public. Later generations of
Romans considered his works a font of human knowledge, from rhetoric
to ethics to agriculture; by the Middle Ages, the poet had come to be
regarded as a wizard whose powers included the ability to control
Vesuvius’s eruptions and to cure blindness in sheep.

However fantastical the proportions to which this reverence grew, it
was grounded in a very real achievement represented by one poem in
particular: the Aeneid, a heroic epic in twelve chapters (or “books”)
about the mythic founding of Rome, which some ancient sources say
Augustus commissioned and which was, arguably, the single most
influential literary work of European civilization for the better part
of two millennia.

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- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
Africa


“I dream that I have found us both again,
With spring so many strangers' lives away,
And we, so free,
Out walking by the sea,
With someone else's paper words to say....

They took us at the gates of green return,
Too lost by then to stop, and ask them why-
Do children meet again?
Does any trace remain,
Along the superhighways of July?”

Political Reflections

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US Warns Against 'Empire and Aggression' in Indo-Pacific Amid Row With China @SputnikInt
Law & Politics


Speaking at an ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] summit,
US Vice President Mike Pence specifically warned against aggressive
moves in the Indo-Pacific region.
He did not mention China by name, but his remarks were interpreted as
something that was related to Beijing's growing presence in South
China Sea, according to media reports.
"Like you, we seek an Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and
small, can prosper and thrive — secure in our sovereignty, confident
in our values, and growing stronger together. We all agree that empire
and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific," Pence underscored.
He said that the US tries to promote this vision by notably spurring
private investment in infrastructure and pursuing trade which is
"free, fair, and reciprocal".
The statement came a day after Pence warned that if China fails to
"fundamentally change its behaviour", it will face all-out cold war
with Washington and its partners.
He pledged to put more economic, diplomatic and political pressure on
China if Beijing fails to make "significant and concrete concessions
that address not just the trade deficit that we face".
On Tuesday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters on
the sidelines of the ASEAN summit that Washington objects to Beijing's
unilateral military steps in the South China Sea and that the pace of
US freedom of operations trips to the disputed water areas has
increased.
The remarks echoed those made by US Defence Secretary James Mattis,
who reiterated last month that Washington "cannot accept the [People's
Republic of China's] militarization of the South China Sea or any
coercion in this region."
China has repeatedly encountered US warships in the South China Sea,
with one of the latest incidents taking place in October when a
Chinese Luyang-class destroyer came within 45 yards of the USS
Decatur, forcing the ship to manoeuvre to avoid a collision.
Over the past few years, Beijing has cultivated an array of military
assets in disputed strategic areas of the resource-rich South China
Sea for what it described as national defence purposes.
The Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands are among the more frequently
disputed territories. Beijing, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and the
Philippines have staked claims over elements of the Spratlys, while
Beijing, Taiwan and Vietnam dispute sovereignty over the Paracels.
China has exerted de facto control over the Paracels since 1974.
The US has long expressed alarm about Beijing boosting its clout in
the South China Sea, but mostly limited its reaction to verbal
reproach.
US Navy ships carry out "freedom of navigation" operations in these
areas, with US Air Force bombers sometimes conducting "flyovers" over
the area.

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US security and economy 'undoubtedly put at risk' by China Nikkei Asian Review
Law & Politics


China's hegemonic ambitions pose certain risk to U.S. security and
economic interests, a bipartisan congressional panel said in a report
released on Wednesday.
The 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review
Commission criticizes Beijing's attempt to turn Asian seaports into
military supply bases.
It also warned that the country may steal information from U.S.
corporations by taking advantage of key technologies for data
distribution.
"Many aspects of China's attempts to seize leadership have undoubtedly
put at risk the national security and economic interests of the United
States, its allies and partners," the report states.
The commission, whose members include former government officials and
China experts, wields a great deal of influence over congressional
policies.
The annual report specifically says China is developing and operating
seaports under its Belt and Road Initiative -- ostensibly aimed at
creating a vast economic bloc -- but in fact is using them as fuel and
supply bases for its navy.
The report continues, saying China uses protection of infrastructure
needed for development as the pretext for deploying its naval forces
overseas.
It also raises concerns that China's aggressive spending on
next-generation defense technologies may eclipse U.S. military
supremacy in the medium to long term.
Regarding denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the report said
China appears to have started to relax its sanctions against North
Korea, weakening the U.S. policy of applying maximum pressure on
Pyongyang. It also says China places a low priority on the
denuclearization issue.
"Beijing appears to have already started to loose enforcement of
sanctions on North Korea, undermining the U.S. 'maximum pressure'
campaign," it said.
The report notes that China is aggressively supporting development of
devices related to the internet of things, technology that connects
objects online to each other. As these devices find their way into
America's infrastructure, they may give China covert access to
personal and corporate data.
In trade and investment, China is demanding that U.S. companies
transfer technology in exchange for access to its vast market,
according to the report. It may not be efficient, the report says, to
use multilateral trade frameworks, such as the World Trade
Organization, to resolve issues arising from China's commercial
practices.

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US drops the gauntlet on the South China Sea @asiatimesonline
Law & Politics


When US Vice President Mike Pence flew on Tuesday over the South China
Sea in transit to the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean)
summit in Singapore, his air force plane passed within 50 miles of
Chinese outposts in the contested Spratly Islands.
Upon landing at the summit, attended by regional leaders, Pence said
his overflight was a type of “freedom of navigation” operation and
that it was a message to China that the US “will not be intimidated”
by Beijing’s warnings against US operations in areas it claims in the
maritime region.
In effect, the US is pressuring Asean against acquiescing to Beijing
through a compromised code of conduct agreement that bolsters China’s
maritime power while acknowledging its wide-reaching claims to the
sea. Beijing’s “nine-dash line” map encircles 90% of the South China
Sea as Chinese territory.
This marks a major departure from Washington’s traditional policy,
where it has broadly supported the regional grouping’s efforts to tame
China’s maritime ambitions through diplomatic engagement and
negotiations. In contrast, under Trump’s more muscular policy,
Washington is now pressuring Asean to stand up to China or get out of
the way.

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The 'Madman' Behind @realDonaldTrump's Trade Theory Peter Navarro @TheAtlantic
Law & Politics


In Navarro’s telling, those cheap flip-flops are supporting an
authoritarian state, and that cut-rate washing machine might be
mortgaging America’s future.
Navarro is among the most important generals in Trump’s trade war, and
a seemingly improbable one. He is a business-school professor, a
get-rich guru, a former Peace Corps member, a former Democrat, and a
failed candidate for public office several times over. He holds no
formal role in trade negotiations, and controls no levers of policy.
He is not in the Cabinet.
A handful of Trump’s top officials share this perspective, among them
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer, who is actually negotiating America’s trade deals. Many
others—including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow of
the National Economic Council—do not. They want China to stop stealing
intellectual property and to open up its markets, sure. They do not
see decoupling the Chinese and American economies as a good and
necessary goal.
He is the madman behind Trump’s “madman theory” approach to trade
policy, there to make enemies and allies alike believe that the
president can and will do anything to make America great again.
“The reality is, unless the president talks tough on trade and has
possible concrete actions to back up that talk, these people won’t
talk to us,” Navarro told me. “They had no incentive to talk to us,
none, because they’re winning and we’re losing.”
Nudged by Navarro, Trump realized that his views were being undermined
by his own people. “My Peter,” as Trump sometimes calls Navarro, came
back into favor. Cohn quit. Trump finally got his trade war.

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02-JAN-2018 :: I am no longer bullish bitcoin, in fact, I am bearish
International Trade


Last year, I made bitcoin my number one choice and it rallied close to
20-fold before correcting and ending the year +1,300%. I am no longer
bullish bitcoin, in fact, I am bearish. The structure of bitcoin is,
however, one that lends it to being ‘’short-squeezed’’ and being
‘’short-squeezed’’ is not a pleasant sensation, let me assure you. For
2018, the portfolio will look to be short bitcoin on a tactical basis.

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27-NOV-2017 :: Bitcoin "Wow! What a Ride!" @TheStarKenya
International Trade


Bitcoin has been the top- performing currency every year since 2010,
except 2014, and this year at +900%, the return has been parabolic
(off the charts). The parabola was described thus by Thomas Pynchon

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It Is the
parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused
to believe- that everything, always, collectively, had been moving
toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no
surprise, no second chance, no return.’’

If you spend your life deeply immersed in the markets, then it is
necessary to sniff out these parabolic moves. And it’s better to do
right than say right as Edwin Lefevre noted nearly a century ago.

Or as T.S Eliot said in The Hollow Men

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom.

This, you will agree, is mind-boggling inflation. In my experience,
when I have found myself riding a tiger by its tail, the key issue is
the getting off and not trying to run the trade for every penny.

‘’One of the few men to get out in time before the Wall Street crash
of 1929 did so – legend has it – because he was offered a stock tip by
the boy who shined his shoes. He immediately sold all his holdings. If
the mania for gambling on the stock market had reached down to the
children on the streets, the bubble must have been due to pop at any
moment. The corresponding moment for the cryptocurrency bubble will
only be discernible in retrospect, but we have some pretty strong
candidates already. The endorsement of one project by the reality TV
star Paris Hilton has already happened.’’

There are many cryptocurrency schemes which are sold on the same
grounds as the greatest South Sea Bubble prospectus: “For carrying on
an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.”

My investment thesis at the start of the year was that Bitcoin was
going to get main-streamed in 2017. It has main-streamed beyond my
wildest dreams, therefore, I am now sidelined.

Let me leave you with Hunter S.Thompson, “Life should not be a journey
to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and
well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of
smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming
“Wow! What a Ride!”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1345
Dollar Index 96.98
Japan Yen 113.33
Swiss Franc 1.0063
Pound 1.2808
Aussie 0.7278
India Rupee 71.915
South Korea Won 1129.59
Brazil Real 3.7842
Egypt Pound 17.9060
South Africa Rand 14.1809

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China Proxies Offer Hope Amid Market Mayhem @business
World Currencies


The pound is getting hammered as U.K. lawmakers fail to agree on how
to leave the European Union, with one strategist calling it “the
biggest circus of modern politics.” An alarming number of influential
investors are warning about big problems ahead in the credit markets.
Last year’s global synchronized economic recovery is in jeopardy of
turning into a synchronized global slowdown. The negatives facing
global markets aren’t just mounting — they seem to be multiplying. But
there is hope.

The currencies of Australia and New Zealand are showing a surprising
amount of strength, appreciating 3.45 percent and 5.91 percent,
respectively, over the past month against a basket of nine
developed-market peers. Those are the two biggest gains among the
group. The so-called Aussie and kiwi are important to watch because of
their economic ties to China. As such, they are often seen as a proxy
for what is happening in China and sentiment toward that nation’s
economy. In other words, the strength in the Aussie and kiwi is due at
least in part to optimism that China’s economy is in better shape than
many give it credit for and that a trade war with the U.S. may be on
the verge of easing. But it’s not all speculation that’s driving the
currencies higher. The latest economic data out of Australia and New
Zealand have been beating forecasts by a greater degree than any other
country, according to the Citigroup Economic Surprise indexes. On
Thursday, Australia said it added 32,800 jobs in October, more than
the 20,000 median estimate of economists. In a bullish signal, Reserve
Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr removed an explicit reference
last week in his policy statement that interest rates might need to be
lowered.

Commodities

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'Duped,' 'tricked' and 'snookered': Oil analysts say @realDonaldTrump fooled Saudis into tanking crude prices @CNBC
Commodities


Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia pulled off a challenging U-turn in
global oil market policy, convincing a fractious group of two dozen
nations to hike output and undercut the oil market rally that was
filling their coffers.
The Saudis undertook this unpopular task at least in part to help its
allies in the White House — and for its troubles, the kingdom was
rewarded with a series of blistering tweets from President Donald
Trump and the biggest pullback in oil prices since the historic
downturn of 2014.
Oil market analysts say it now appears that Trump hoodwinked Saudi
Arabia, fooling the U.S. ally into pushing the oil market into
oversupply and sparking a roughly 25-percent drop in crude prices.
That accomplished Trump's goal of driving down energy costs for
Americans, but left oil-dependent nations like Saudi Arabia with the
prospect of shrinking revenues.
The analysts say Trump essentially bamboozled the Saudis by
threatening for months to implement sanctions against Iran so
strictly, the Islamic Republic's exports would go into free fall. But
when the administration's deadline for oil buyers to quit Iranian oil
arrived on Nov. 4, Trump instead dolled out six-month exemptions to
some of the country's biggest customers.
"They got sort of tricked here," said John Kilduff, founding partner
at energy hedge fund Again Capital. "The Russians and the Saudis in
particular ramped up production, ramped up exports ahead of what was
supposed to be severe sanctions on Iran, and when the administration
gave the eight waivers to Iran's largest buyers, it undercut that
whole equation."
"So now we've tripped into an oversupply situation almost overnight
because of the severe reaction by Russia and the Saudis to cover for
Iran losses, which never materialized."
To be sure, the sanctions have shrunk Iran's exports by about 1
million barrels per day. Few thought the Trump administration would
actually achieve its stated goal of cutting its rival's shipments to
zero.
But the sanctions, backed by the administration's hawkish rhetoric,
cut Iran's exports more quickly than many anticipated. The market also
expected another big drop after the Nov. 4 deadline passed. That fear
fueled a rally that sent oil prices to four-year highs.
Over the last six weeks, that rally has unwound in spectacular
fashion, with oil prices tumbling into a bear market. The pullback has
several causes, including a weaker demand outlook for oil and a wider
market sell-off, but analysts say OPEC's output hike earlier this year
and the sanctions waivers play a major part in the oil price plunge.
"In early October there was this expectation that a lot of Iran's
barrels were going to come off the market, and so essentially Saudi
Arabia was duped into increasing production," said Matt Smith, head of
commodities research at tanker-tracking firm ClipperData.
Smith says it's uncertain the situation has unfolded exactly as the
Trump administration intended, but it has ultimately worked out in the
president's favor — though potentially at a cost to U.S.-Saudi
relations.
"They've really done a good job of decreasing that oil price, but it
has been at the expense of some of those relations there, because
surely the Saudis have got to be pretty unhappy with the way things
have played out here."
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih acknowledged this week that
Iran's exports didn't fall as much as expected.
He also announced that Saudi Arabia will ship 500,000 fewer bpd in
December and said OPEC and its allies may cut production by 1 million
bpd next year. That decision could come in a few weeks when OPEC,
Russia and other producers meet to review their current policy of
easing output curbs that have been in place since last year.

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12-NOV-2018 :: Crude Oil, a Crown Prince plays his Get-Out-Of Jail Card and the US Mid-Terms
Commodities


WTI [American] Crude Oil peaked at a 4 year high price of $76.00+ at
the beginning of October. it closed at $60.10 on Friday. WTI Crude Oil
posted a record-beating sequence of  a ten session losing streak
through Friday, something the Price of Oil has never done since
records began in 1983.  Brent Crude closed at a 4 year high of just
below $86.00 at around the same time. It closed at $70.41 on Friday.
Both Crude Oil benchmarks are in bear markets. In fact, Crude Oil and
the FANGS were a bright spot in 2018 through October until they got
destroyed.

Mr. Khashoggi was murdered in cold blood in an obviously ''Quentin
Tarantino'' style operation. The facts as have been presented are
stranger than fiction and my question is if this is how they conduct
themselves on foreign soil, just imagine what must be going on at
home. The Image of Khashoggi's son being compelled to shake MBS's hand
is surely the most apposite metaphor for the House of Saud.

The proximity of the beginning of the bear market in Crude Oil and the
disappearance of Khashoggi is no coincidence. The Sell-Off was
''manufactured'' by the Crown Prince and was his response and an
attempt to release some of the Pressure from the [geopolitical]
Pressure Cooker. It produced a Tail-Wind [or did not allow the Price
of Gas to become a Head-Wind] for President Trump as he entered the
Mid-Terms, now behind us of course. It was actually a ''Set-Up''
Trade. It was the only Get Out of Jail Card that the Crown Prince
could play. The Question is does this keep on spinning lower under its
own momentum?

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Up a creek Conflict in the Gulf is hurting Dubai @TheEconomist
Emerging Markets


Dubai is unlike most of the Gulf’s sheikhdoms. Its economy thrives not
on oil, but on tourism, trade and finance. Its patch of desert hosts
one of the world’s busiest airports, its tallest skyscraper and the
region’s biggest port at Jebel Ali. The pace of construction is
dizzying. The emirate’s gdp is projected to grow by 3.3% in 2018, up
from 2.8% last year.
Below the rosy top-line figures, though, there are growing signs that
Dubai is running into trouble. Rising oil prices created momentum in
the short term, but “trends are downwards” over the long term, says
Ehsan Khoman of mufg, a bank. He and other analysts say an
oversaturated property market and regional conflict are the biggest
causes for concern.
Dubai’s stockmarket has slumped by 20% year-on-year and is the
worst-performer in the Middle East. The recent collapse of Abraaj
Group, the largest firm in the Dubai International Financial Centre,
has jolted confidence. New business licences are far fewer and
employment is shrinking for the first time on record. The emirate
withholds statistics needed for a sovereign-credit rating, but
state-owned companies provide a bellwether. In September s&p, a
credit-rating agency, downgraded two, citing a weakening economy.
Foreigners make up more than 90% of the population, but schools for
expatriates are closing. Removal companies say departures far outstrip
arrivals. Real-estate agents bemoan a rash of empty flats, even as
developers build more. Falling rents made Dubai’s property market the
world’s second-worst performer in 2017. Shares in Emaar Properties,
the emirate’s biggest developer, have sunk by 38% in a year.
Banks learnt to be more prudent after a debt-driven crisis in 2009,
when Dubai needed a $20bn bail-out (equal to about a quarter of its
gdp at the time) from Abu Dhabi, the richest fellow member of the
United Arab Emirates (uae). Analysts do not expect another such
crisis, but they still worry about the exposure of regional banks to
property. Some would have gone bankrupt were it not for help from the
central bank, says an asset manager.
Rising oil prices (until recent weeks), a recovery in Saudi Arabia,
the Gulf’s biggest economy, and construction related to the next World
Expo, which Dubai will host in 2020, help explain why firms say they
are optimistic. But they also worry about protracted conflicts in the
Gulf. Dubai, long a haven in the volatile region, has lately been
caught up in the trouble. In August officials were forced to deny
claims made by Yemeni rebels to have hit Dubai’s airport with armed
drones.
Dubai is moored to the bellicose policies of Muhammad bin Zayed, the
crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the uae. He and
Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, have not only
led the war in Yemen but also a 17-month-old blockade of Qatar. As a
result, Dubai lost a trading partner. Flights connecting the busy
airport in Doha, Qatar’s capital, to Dubai have been grounded. Qatar’s
imports, once routed through Jebel Ali, now go direct (or via Oman).
Rather than share the business generated by Qatar’s hosting of the
World Cup in 2022, the uae is trying to scuttle the tournament.
Dubai’s profitable relationship with Iran has been similarly
disrupted. The emirate earned big port fees from the $17bn trade in
re-exports to Iran. But America’s re-imposition of sanctions, with the
support of the two belligerent princes, has scared away business. The
dhows that shipped goods across the Persian Gulf every week now go
once a month. Dubai has become less attractive as a back door to Iran.
In May American and Emirati monitors dismantled a currency-exchange
network in Dubai used by the Quds Force, the foreign wing of Iran’s
Revolutionary Guard Corps. America has added Dubai to its
anti-money-laundering watch-list.
With Muhammad bin Zayed calling the shots abroad, Dubai’s emir,
Muhammad bin Rashid, has introduced stimulus measures at home. Over
the summer he froze private-school fees and cut levies. In order to
keep more foreigners from leaving, he introduced longer-term work
visas and loosened restrictions on business ownership. There is hope
that Chinese investors will start piling in. China, for its part, is
developing the Omani port of Duqm, which could allow ships to bypass
Jebel Ali.
Optimists point to opportunities resulting from the uae’s foreign
adventures. The capture of ports in Yemen has opened new lines of
commerce and might eventually benefit dp World, a port operator owned
by Dubai. An alliance with General Khalifa Haftar, a Libyan warlord,
could provide similar prospects on the Mediterranean. Emirati
footholds in Somaliland could lead to more business in Ethiopia’s
landlocked market. Quiet ties to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in
Syria could lead to reconstruction contracts. But as the uae becomes
more entangled in the region’s political fights, so does Dubai. The
emirate long benefited from the region’s distress. Now it risks
becoming a victim of it.

read more




Another Bongo takes power in Gabon @mailandguardian
Africa


The small, oil-rich country of Gabon might be in line for yet another
“managed” family succession of the Bongos. Father and son have been in
power for 51 years since 1967.
Now, with President “Ben” Ali Bongo in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia, his brother, Frederic Bongo, the head of intelligence and
supported by hardline generals, is already in charge, operating
outside the constitutional provisions, according to reports.
The president arrived in Riyadh to attend the crown prince’s
international Future Investment Initiative conference, clearly unwell
and shuffling when he was received.
A day after the conference opened on October 24, Bongo collapsed and
was admitted to hospital. His spokesperson, Ike Nguone, said he was
suffering from severe exhaustion. Since then, there has been a blanket
on news about his condition in his country.
This has only served to stoke rumours and speculation. The opposition
in the capital Libreville, led by his brother-in-law and former
African Union Commission chairperson, Dr Jean Ping, issued a “speech
to the nation”, asserting that for several months Gabon has been “on a
very dangerous autopilot”.
The speculation has been exacerbated by a Cameroon-based television
station, able to beam into Gabon, sensationally reporting that Bongo
had died on admission to the hospital in Riyadh. For making this
incendiary comment, Vision 4 Channel’s licence has been withdrawn for
six months.
Several days later, Bongo’s wife, Sylvia, told Agence France Press
that he had had a stroke.

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Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed takes on the military
Africa


A year ago, many Ethiopians would not have dared to imagine the
spectacle they are being treated to right now, as the government
intensifies its crackdown on alleged corruption and gross human rights
violations within the military and intelligence services.
The nation has watched in disbelief - and then cheered - as former
high-ranking officers have been arrested on live television,
handcuffed while surrounded by heavily armed security personnel and
bundled into police vehicles. Times have indeed changed.
This is the biggest crackdown on corruption in Ethiopia's recent
history and it is being spearheaded by the bold and reformist Prime
Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April.
In this fight, the prime minister seems to have huge public support,
having won over even some of his doubters who thought he did not have
it in him to take on the military elite.

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July 2nd 2018 These 90 or so days represent the most consequential arrival of an African Politician on the African Stage since Mandela walked out of prison blinking in the sunlight
Africa


Abiy Ahmed Ali (Amharic: , Oromo: Abiyyi Ahimad Alii; born 15 August
1976) was appointed the 12th Prime Minister of Ethiopia on 2 April
2018. He grew up in a Muslim family (Ah- med Ali, his Oromo father;
Tezeta Wolde, his mother) and with Oromo Muslim and Christian
grandparents. He is evidently a Virilian and Gladwellian Figure.

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July 2nd 2018 Abiy Ahmed. It's all about speed and velocity. Paul Virilio terms it 'dromology'
Africa


Abiy Ahmed. It’s all about speed and velocity. Paul Virilio terms it
‘dromology’, which he defined as the “science (or logic) of speed“. He
notes that the speed at which something happens may change its
essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to
dominate that which is slower.
“Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory
is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a
matter of movement and circulation.”
Virilio argues that the traditional feudal fortified city disappeared
because of the increasing sophistication of weapons and possibilities
for warfare. For Virilio, the concept of siege warfare became rather a
war of movement.
Abiy Ahmed has moved at lightning speed, the old guard is like ‘’the
traditional feudal fortified city’’.

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Nigeria raised $2.86 billion in Eurobonds on Wednesday across three maturities, to help fund its budget deficit, in a sale that was three times oversubscribed, the government said. @ReutersAfrica
Africa


It priced the bonds with maturities of seven, 12 and 30 years at 7.625
percent, 8.75 percent and 9.25 percent, respectively.
“Despite significant oil and wider macro market volatility, Nigeria
has successfully raised its external debt requirements for the 2018
budget at a cost considerably lower than many of its peers across
Sub-Sahara Africa,” the government said in a statement.

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Ghana signs US $3bn deal for the Accra SkyTrain project
Africa


The government of Ghana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
with South African firm Africa Investment (AI) to construct the Accra
Sky Train project at a whopping cost of US $3bn.

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Ghana to cut the tax rate for people earning more than $4,100 monthly to 30% from 35%
Africa


▪️GDP is on track to expand 5.6% in 2018 & 7.6% in 2019
▪️Probably meet fiscal-deficit target of 3.7% of GDP for 2018
▪️Set up a so-called Sovereign Century Fund

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Tanzanian cashew price hike could lead to global shortage, traders say @ReutersAfrica
Africa


President John Magufuli has ordered a 94 percent increase to cashew
nut prices to protect farmers from low prices and told his government
to acquire the estimated 220,000 tonne crop after private buyers
refused to buy at the higher price.
Tanzanians would eat the nuts themselves if they could not sell them,
Magufuli said, raising concerns that the nation’s most valuable export
crop will not reach global markets.
If the nuts are not sold to buyers in Vietnam waiting for them, “there
is going to be a shortage” Sushant Gupta, owner of Indian-based
commodity trading company ReloBridge, said.
Cashew traders were caught by surprise by Magufuli’s decree on Nov. 12
and Ian Dyas at London-based CG Hacking said the move would drive
prices higher in India, a major processor and consumer of the nuts,
and top processor Vietnam.
“In the short-term it will certainly do that (raise prices),
especially in India,” he told Radio France International.
Tanzania exports 75 percent of East Africa’s cashew crop, the
International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation says and its
export revenues doubled to $540 million last year from $270 million in
2016, official data shows.
Dyas said it was also unclear if Tanzania had the logistical capacity
to store this year’s August to December harvest.
But Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture Innocent Bashungwa told
Reuters the government is capable in managing all the nuts currently
in store and the cashews in the hands of farmers, adding the
involvement of the army was for security.
“Cashew nuts are a valuable commodity. So we have to make sure that
they are properly stored until we take them to the market,” Bashungwa
said.
“The army is there to make sure the cashew nuts which is already
stored in the warehouses are safe.”
No other country harvests during the same period as Tanzania, said
Gupta, who imports from Ivory Coast, Africa’s biggest cashew producer,
for processing in Vietnam and India.
Magufuli said the military would assist in the buying and transport of
the nuts and this week sent officials to “verify” the crop.
Cashew kernel prices have dropped to $7,500 per tonne from $9,500 at
the beginning of the year.

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Uganda orders military to protect Chinese businesses @BBCAfrica
Africa


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has ordered the army to protect
Chinese companies following a spate of thefts.
Addressing a group of 120 Chinese investors on Wednesday, Mr Museveni
announced increased patrols and CCTV installation in industrial parks.
China has significant investments in Uganda but businesses have lost
large sums of money in robberies.
The government is under pressure to increase security amid an increase
in violent crime across the country.
"To me, this is a simple problem to solve," President Museveni said,
according to an official statement.
He added that any security workers who lose a gun while guarding a
Chinese business could face a court martial. There have been concerns
that guards may have facilitated some of the break-ins.
Several comments on the president's official Facebook page questioned
why so much was being done to protect foreign companies and called on
the government to instead support local investors.

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@Coopbankenya Q3 2018 Earnings release and share price data
Africa


Par Value:                  1/-
Closing Price:           14.10
Total Shares Issued:          5867179554.00
Market Capitalization:        82,727,231,711
EPS:             1.99
PE:                 7.085

Cooperative Bank of Kenya PLC Q3 2018 results through 30th September
2018 vs. 30th September 2017
Q3 Investment securities held to maturity – Kenya Gov’t 51.291702b vs.
46.468771b +10.379%
Q3 Investment securities available for sale – Kenya Gov’t 31.955850b
vs. 21.621128b +47.799%
Q3 Loans and advances to customers (net) 254.206736b vs. 259.389953b -1.998%
Q3 Total Assets 404.152889b vs. 388.299393b +4.083%
Q3 Customer deposits 296.084279b vs. 288.964029b +2.464%
Q3 Total shareholders’ funds 70.886378b vs. 67.337517b +5.270%
Q3 Net interest income 21.743340b vs. 20.769018b +4.691%
Q3 Total operating income 32.319302b vs. 30.909708b +4.560%
Q3 Total other operating expenses [17.805603b] vs. [17.270916b] +3.096%
Q3 Profit/ [Loss] before tax and exceptional items 14.513698b vs.
13.638792b +6.415%
Q3 Profit/ [Loss] after tax and exceptional items 10.313936b vs.
9.536259b +8.155%
Basic and diluted EPS 1.76 vs. 1.63 +7.975%
Total NPL and Advances 28.676307b vs. 16.033969b +78.847%

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Twiga Foods raises $10 million
Africa


Twiga Foods has announced a $10 million investment led by the World
Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global
Agriculture and Food Security Programme.
The investment was co-led by TLcom, a pan-African venture capital (VC)
firm with participation from previous investors DOB Equity, 1776,
Adolph H.Lundin and Wamda Capital.

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Precarious prospects: oil in Northern Kenya - in pictures @Saferworld
Africa


Precarious prospects tells the story of changing lives and livelihoods
in Lokichar, a small town in Turkana County, and surrounding villages
that are at the centre of northern Kenya’s oil frontier. Featuring the
work of acclaimed photographer Sven Torfinn and images from
Turkana-based Evans Otieno, the photostory captures changes in a
locale whose fortunes have become inseparable from the highs and lows
of the global resource economy.

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Dust rises from the crumbling remains of the A1 highway that bisects Lokichar Town. Sven Torfinn
Africa


Dust rises from the crumbling remains of the A1 highway that bisects
Lokichar Town. Connecting Turkana County to the rest of Kenya, the
road’s neglect has become a powerful symbol of the region’s historic
marginalisation in Kenya. Lokichar is the commercial and
administrative centre of southern Turkana County, and the base of the
region’s rapidly expanding oil operations. ©Sven Torfinn

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Schoolgirls walk past a sign for the newly-opened 'Black Gold' Hotel in Lokichar Sven Torfinn
Africa


Schoolgirls walk past a sign for the newly-opened ‘Black Gold’ Hotel
in Lokichar, a telling nod to the recent discovery of oil. Financed by
the town’s local elite, the hotel and its new restaurant, bar and
conference facility cater to contractors and other visitors drawn to
the region’s new oil prospects. ©Sven Torfinn

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Christ the Redeemer overlooks the Turkana's capital Lodwar from a hill on the town's periphery Sven Torfinn
Africa


Christ the Redeemer overlooks the Turkana’s capital Lodwar from a hill
on the town’s periphery. The establishment of a new county level
government in 2013, as part of Kenya’s devolution process, and south
Turkana’s new oil finds have contributed to complex social changes,
diminishing the influence of the church and relief organisations over
political and economic life. Many of Turkana’s leaders came to
prominence through employment in international non-governmental
organisations. Oil and county government are likely to give rise to
Turkana’s next generation of leaders. ©Sven Torfinn

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Pastoralists guide livestock past Kapese Petrol Station, the area's first Evans Otieno
Africa


Pastoralists guide livestock past Kapese Petrol Station, the area’s
first. Local elites have moved quickly to capitalise on new business
opportunities in transport, lodging and catering since oil finds were
announced in 2012. But access to new business has also proved tense,
pitting local suppliers against larger companies from elsewhere in
Kenya. ©Evans Otieno

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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November 2018
 
 
 
 
 
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