|Wednesday 28th of August 2019
1. So here's where we are: @MatthewdAncona
1. So here’s where we are: Johnson’s authority is made of balsa. He
depends upon the taxpayer-purchased votes of the DUP and the support
of his own parliamentary party, many of whom want much more than the
backstop excised from May’s deal....
2. He is only in office at all because of the decision taken by the
tiny selectorate of Tory members. His mandate is constitutionally
sound but politically frangible. BUT...
The @federalreserve Shouldn't Enable @realDonaldTrump @economics
U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China keeps undermining
the confidence of businesses and consumers, worsening the economic
This manufactured disaster-in-the-making presents the Federal Reserve
with a dilemma: Should it mitigate the damage by providing offsetting
stimulus, or refuse to play along?
If the ultimate goal is a healthy economy, the Fed should seriously
consider the latter approach.
The Fed’s monetary policy makers typically take what happens outside
their realm as a given, and then make the adjustments needed to pursue
their goals of stable prices and maximum employment.
They place little weight on how their actions will affect decisions in
other areas, such as government spending or trade policy.
The Fed, for example, wouldn’t hold back on interest-rate cuts to
compel Congress to provide fiscal stimulus instead. Staying above the
political fray helps the central bank maintain its independence.
So, according to conventional wisdom, if Trump’s trade war with China
hurts the U.S. economic outlook, the Fed should respond by adjusting
monetary policy accordingly — in this case by cutting interest rates.
But what if the Fed’s accommodation encourages the president to
escalate the trade war further, increasing the risk of a recession?
The central bank’s efforts to cushion the blow might not be merely
ineffectual. They might actually make things worse.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has hinted that he is aware of the problem.
At the central bank’s annual conference in Jackson Hole last week, he
noted that monetary policy cannot “provide a settled rulebook for
I see this as a veiled reference to the trade war, and a warning that
the Fed’s tools are not well suited to mitigate the damage.
Yet the Fed could go much further. Officials could state explicitly
that the central bank won’t bail out an administration that keeps
making bad choices on trade policy, making it abundantly clear that
Trump will own the consequences of his actions.
Such a harder line could benefit the Fed and the economy in three ways.
First, it would discourage further escalation of the trade war, by
increasing the costs to the Trump administration.
Second, it would reassert the Fed’s independence by distancing it from
the administration’s policies.
Third, it would conserve much-needed ammunition, allowing the Fed to
avoid further interest-rate cuts at a time when rates are already very
low by historical standards.
I understand and support Fed officials’ desire to remain apolitical.
But Trump’s ongoing attacks on Powell and on the institution have made
Central bank officials face a choice: enable the Trump administration
to continue down a disastrous path of trade war escalation, or send a
clear signal that if the administration does so, the president, not
the Fed, will bear the risks — including the risk of losing the next
There’s even an argument that the election itself falls within the
Fed’s purview. After all, Trump’s reelection arguably presents a
threat to the U.S. and global economy, to the Fed’s independence and
its ability to achieve its employment and inflation objectives.
If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term
economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their
decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020.
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice breaks in
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice
breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable
He checks in with his flight-dynamics and conceptual- paradigm
officers at Colorado Command:
“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
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60
"Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield"
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock,
which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft,
and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another
paradox: What is soft is strong,” Lao Tzu
"Ours is the most cryptic of Centuries, it's true Nature a Dark Secret" P 206 Imaginary Homelands @SalmanRushdie
“Meaning is a shaky edifice we build out of scraps, dogmas, childhood
injuries, newspaper articles, chance remarks, old fillms, small
victories, people hated, people loved; perhaps it is because our sense
of what is the case is constructed from such inadequate materials that
we defend it so fiercely, even to death.”
― Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991
ISRAEL APPEARS TO ATTACK FOUR COUNTRIES IN TWO DAYS, BOMBING IRAN'S ALLIES ACROSS MIDDLE EAST @Newsweek
Law & Politics
Israel has reportedly struck targets in four different countries
within the span of two days as it broadened the scope of its
extraterritorial activities against allies of Iran.
Israeli forces openly claimed attacks over the weekend in Syria and
the Palestinian-administered Gaza Strip and were blamed for two more
operations in Lebanon and Iraq.
As reports of what occurred across the region emerged, Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at his country's ongoing efforts
abroad, telling a Monday planning meeting that "we will deepen our
roots and strike at our enemies."
Israel has often accused Iran of attempting to set up forward bases
across the Middle East, where most Arab nations have not formally
recognized Israel due to its decades-long territorial dispute with
Palestinians and other clashing interests.
Israel has traditionally maintained silence over its international
operations, but has increasingly opened up about some of its efforts,
especially in Syria, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday
he supported "Israel's right to defend itself from threats posed by
the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps & to take action to prevent
imminent attacks against Israeli assets."
The top U.S. diplomat said Netanyahu stated "Israel would strike IRGC
targets threatening Israel, wherever they are located."
The tweet came a day after Israel's first foreign operation Saturday
in the southwestern Syrian village of Aqraba, preventing what Israel's
military claimed the following day to be "a pending, large-scale
attack of multiple killer drones on Israel."
The targets were said to be members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary
Guards' Quds Force and members of Lebanon's allied Shiite Muslim
The Syrian Ministry of Defense reported Saturday "an Israeli
aggression" coming from the occupied Golan Heights, claiming much of
the incoming missiles had been intercepted.
Israel's military said Sunday it killed two "Lebanese Shiite militia"
operatives, naming them and posting pictures of an alleged trip to
Iran, where they were said to have received "drone-operation
Also on Sunday, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced
two explosive-laden Israeli drones had fallen over southern Beirut as
they attempted to conduct a "suicide mission" in a part of the city
his group enjoys support.
Meanwhile, in northern Israel, Netanyahu argued it was Iran and
Hezbollah that had tried to employ such deadly unmanned weapons,
justifying his Syria attack by saying that "if someone rises up to
kill you, kill him first."
Hours later, Lebanon's National News Agency reported that Israeli jets
struck positions of the nationalist Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine - General Command in eastern Qusaya.
The group, which also has ties to Iran, reportedly responded with
anti-aircraft fire in what would be one of the most serious
engagements involving the two countries since Hezbollah and Israel
fought in 2006.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri received a call that same day
from Pompeo, who "stressed the need to avoid any escalation and to
work with all parties concerned to prevent any further deterioration"
as Hariri "emphasized Lebanon's commitment to the obligations of
international resolutions" and noted "the dangers of continuing
Israeli violations" of these resolutions.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun met Monday with the U.N. Special
Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis, calling Israel's moves in Beirut
and Qusaya "a declaration of war."
The statement echoed the words of Iraq's powerful Fateh Alliance,
which called separate strikes that killed a militia commander in the
border town of Al-Qaim "a declaration of war on Iraq and its people,"
according to the Associated Press.
The statement attributed the strike to Israel and is believed to be
the latest in a series of such attacks targeting sites associated with
the Popular Mobilization Forces, a mostly Shiite Muslim collective of
militias that are integrated with the Iraqi armed forces but host ties
to Iran as well.
Speaking Monday to a media outlet affiliated with the paramilitary
forces, Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesperson Tahseen al-Khafaji warned
Monday that "we will not allow security forces or the Popular
Mobilization Forces to be subjected to any aggression," but noted that
"investigations are still underway."
Violence also erupted closer to Israel's own disputed borders as
unidentified groups fired three rockets into Israel from Gaza, two of
which were reportedly intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
Israel retaliated by launching airstrikes on positions on Hamas, the
Palestinian Sunni Islamist group in charge of the territory.
As regional tensions flared, Israeli Coordinator of Government
Activities in the Territories Major General Kamil Abu-Rukun issued a
warning to Palestinian groups on his Facebook page, warning that
"hostile elements near and far, attempting to ignite a war, are
dragging you into violence and destroying the stability and security
of your home," as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.
He claimed that Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad "is in the
service of Iran, is causing destabilization again and again and
harming the security of the area." He added: "You are the ones who
will suffer the consequences."
While Israel and Iran have long been at odds, their feud has worsened
since the U.S.' decision last year to leave a 2015 nuclear deal and
impose a self-styled "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions against
the Islamic Republic.
The U.S. has struggled to establish a multinational maritime security
group and though Israel has expressed interest, only the United
Kingdom, Bahrain and Australia have officially signed on to coalition.
Americans' View of the Current Economy Is the Highest in 19 Years @markets
U.S. consumer confidence declined in August by less than forecast as
Americans’ assessment of current conditions climbed to the highest
level in almost 19 years, helped by a job market that remains robust.
The Conference Board’s index eased to 135.1 this month from a revised
135.8, according to data from the New York-based group Tuesday that
exceeded all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
The gauge of views on the present situation jumped to 177.2, the
highest since November 2000, the expectations index decreased.
“While other parts of the economy may show some weakening, consumers
have remained confident and willing to spend,” Lynn Franco, senior
director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a
“However, if the recent escalation in trade and tariff tensions
persists, it could potentially dampen consumers’ optimism regarding
the short-term economic outlook.”
Rupee Loses Mojo in Another Ugly August for India's Currency @markets
The rupee is set for its worst monthly loss in six years and some
analysts warn of more pain to come. JPMorgan Chase & Co. expects it to
approach the record low hit last October by year-end, while Nomura
forecasts the currency to finish 2019 at 72.5 per dollar.
Demand for everything from cars to cookies has waned as India’s
lingering shadow-banking crisis weighs on private consumption, which
accounts for almost 60% of the gross domestic product. And the
increasingly bitter trade war has complicated the government’s task of
re-igniting Asia’s third-largest economy.
Not surprisingly, data due Friday will likely to show that gross
domestic product slowed in the June quarter, to 5.7%.
Rupee’s fortunes are also getting linked to the moves in the yuan,
according to JPMorgan, which has moved away from its call of rupee
outperformance against the more-trade oriented currencies like the
“If the CNY continues to depreciate against the USD, as we expect, we
believe the rupee will depreciate virtually lockstep with the CNY,”
analysts including Sajid Chinoy and Jonathan Cavenagh wrote in a
Zambia Ratings Lowered To 'CCC+/C' On Low Foreign Reserves And High Debt Service Obligations; Outlook Stable S&P Global Ratings
Zambia's foreign currency reserves are low and its external
debt-service obligations are rising.
In the absence of effective policy to at least stabilize external
buffers at the central bank, Zambia's relative creditworthiness is
We are therefore lowering our ratings on Zambia to 'CCC+/C' from 'B-/B'.
The stable outlook reflects our view that the Zambian government can
meet its commercial debt obligations over the next 12 months.
On Aug. 23, 2019, S&P Global Ratings lowered its long- and short-term
foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Zambia to
'CCC+/C' from 'B-/B'. The outlook on the long-term rating is stable.
We have also revised our transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment
on Zambia to 'CCC+' from 'B-'.
The outlook is stable because we expect the government to meet its
commercial debt obligations over the next 12 months.
Nigeria Fears Fiscal Crisis as Debts Take Big Pie of Revenues BBG
Fiscal revenues in Africa’s most-populous nation undershot targets by
at least 45% a year since 2015, according to the budget office.
Expenditure has doubled to more than 7 trillion naira ($19 billion).
The government’s income shortfall was 51.9% in May due to lower oil
and non-oil inflows, according to the central bank.
Spending has been largely supported by borrowing both from the
domestic and international markets. Total debt was at $81.2 billion at
the end of March, from about $65 billion in 2015. Debt owed to
non-Nigerian lenders was $25.2 billion.
Total borrowing as a proportion of gross domestic product is about
21%, compared with almost 60% for South Africa, which vies with
Nigeria as the continent’s biggest economy.
Debt service costs consume more than half of actual revenues, leaving
little to build badly needed infrastructure and grow the economy.
Nigeria spent 2.2 trillion naira on servicing outstanding loans in
2018 compared to 1.68 trillion naira on infrastructure, according to
the central bank.
Without major revenue reforms, debt could rise to almost 36% of GDP by
2024 and interest payments could make up 74.6% of revenue, according
to the International Monetary Fund.
At about 7% of GDP, Nigeria has one of the lowest tax collection
ratios in the world. Efforts to boost tax revenues in recent years has
not yielded the desired results. An oil price crash, a 2016
contraction and subsequent slow economic growth has reduced tax
earnings, Babatunde Fowler, chief executive of the country’s revenue
agency, said in answer to a query from the Presidency.
The country’s low tax revenues hampers its ability to invest in
infrastructure, social welfare and human capital development, all
necessary for robust growth, Amaka Anku, Eurasia Group’s Africa head,
said by email.
“Nigeria’s government expenditure is roughly the same as Kenya’s,
despite a population that is nearly three times as big,” she said.
The most viable option is for the government to increase taxes,
Oluwasegun Akinwale, a banking analyst at Lagos-based Asset & Resource
Management, said by phone.
“If they can do that in the next few months, that can add some
income,” he said. “They also have to diversify the revenue base from
oil and add manufacturing. There are no short-term solutions.”
@KenyaAirways reports H1 2019 Earnings here
Par Value: 5/-
Closing Price: 2.65
Total Shares Issued: 5681616931.00
Market Capitalization: 15,056,284,867
Kenya Airways PLC H1 2019 results through 30th June 2019 vs. 30th June 2018
H1 Total income 58.550b vs. 52.193b +12.180%
H1 Total operating costs [61.454b] vs. [53.218b] -15.476%
H1 Operating Loss [2.904b] vs. [1.025b] -183.317%
H1 Other costs [5.684b] vs. [2.990b] -90.100%
H1 Loss before income tax [8.562b] vs. [3.992b] -114.479%
H1 Income tax [expenses]/ credit [1m] vs. [43m] -97.674%
H1 Loss for the period [8.563b] vs. [4.035b] -112.218%
Basic loss per share [1.47] vs. [0.69] -113.043%
Diluted loss per share [1.14] vs. [0.54] -111.111%
Total Equity [16.184b]
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 4.229b vs. 5.964b -29.091%
On behalf of the board of Directors, I hereby present the Kenya
Airways PLC financial results for the six months period ended 30 June
I would like to point out that in turning around Kenya Airways, a
deliberate decision was taken not to shrink the business but instead
improve financial performance through strategic investments on growth
Some of these investments may deny KQ and its shareholders an
immediate return but are expected to yield positive results in the
In cognisance of these long-term investments, the Group has recorded a
loss before tax of Kshs 8,562 million compared to Kshs 3,992 million
reported in the same period in 2018. Some of these losses can be
attributed to the return in to KQ service of two Boeing 787's that
were on sub-lease to Oman Air, investment in new routes and adoption
of the new International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS 16).
IFRS 16 which came into effect in January 2019, replacing IAS 17,
recognises operating leases as assets in financial statements and
enables comparability between companies that lease assets and those
that outrightly purchase assets.
The Group's total revenues increased by 12% to Kshs. 58,550 million.
The growth was due to improved passenger, cargo and other revenue
streams that were mainly driven by the positive performance of
recently introduced routes
These results include revenues from routes such as New York,
Libreville, Mogadishu which were opened in the second half on 2018. As
a result, the Airline recorded a 6.6% increase in passenger numbers to
hit 2.4 million. Passenger revenue grew 5.8% to Kshs. 42,597 million.
Despite the increase in revenues, we continue to register lower yields
attributed increased competitive environment, major currency
fluctuations as well as a tough local macro-economic environment.
The Group saw a 15.9 % rise in operating costs. The increase was
mainly attributed to the return of two Boeing 787s that had been
sub-leased to Oman Air and fuel costs which marginally increased by 5%
due to increased flying. The airline, however benefitted from its fuel
Based on the above revenue and cost dynamics, the Group recorded an
Operating loss Margin of 5.6%.
Other operating highlights:
During the first half, KQ continued its network expansion drive,
opening the key strategic routes - Rome, Geneva and Malindi and
increasing frequencies to other key destinations. The New York City
Route which was launched in October 2013 has shown a positive
passenger uptake. The growth in passenger numbers is highly attributed
to codeshare agreements that enable passengers to connect to other
destinations in the US.
The global economic and geopolitical context remains uncertain, while
Kenya Airways continues to operate in a highly competitive
environment. The Group continues to invest in improvement of
operations, efficient network growth and improvement of service
quality and delivery.
In the next half year, the Board and Management are working on a fleet
refinancing program, which once completed will improve the Group's
cashflow. The impact of this program on the Group's financials will be
announced to the public once the program is approved for
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I take this opportunity to
express my sincere appreciation to our customers, the Government of
Kenya, shareholders, management, staff, suppliers and other
stakeholders for their continued support.
@NSE_PLC reports H1 2019 EPS -82.692% Earnings here
Closing Price: 11.10
Total Shares Issued: 259503194.00
Market Capitalization: 2,880,485,453
Nairobi Securities Exchange PLC H1 2019 results through 30th June 2019
vs. 30th June 2018
H1 Operating income 288.731m vs. 352.402m -18.068%
H1 Interest income 47.227m vs. 58.879m -19.790%
H1 Total income 364.336m vs. 430.504m -15.370%
H1 Administrative expenses [339.404m] vs. [277.332m] -22.382%
H1 Profit before taxation 29.895m vs. 167.826m -82.187%
H1 Profit for the year 24.268m vs. 133.886m -81.874%
Basic and diluted EPS 0.09 vs. 0.52 -82.692%
Total assets 2.287448b vs. 2.309172b -0.941%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of period 234.197mvs.122.341m +91.430%
OPERATING ENVIRONMENT – FIRST HALF OF 2019
Global economic growth remained subdued in the first half of 2019 on
account of strained US-China trade relations coupled with prolonged
Brexit uncertainty, that significantly impacted on investor
sentiments, slowing down investment.
In the course of the 6-month period, the World Bank revised downwards
its 2019 economic growth forecast by 0.3% points to 2.6%, from the
projected 2.9% as at January 2019.
The macro-economic environment in Kenya during the first half of 2019
continued to face challenges characterized by erratic weather
conditions, low private sector credit growth, reduced liquidity and
During the period under review, the inflation rate increased to an
average of 5.2% compared to an average of 4.3% posted over the same
period in 2018.
The country however experienced a relatively stable interest rate and
currency environment evidenced by a marginal depreciation of 0.5%
against the US Dollar and declining yields in government securities in
the primary market in the period under review respectively.
The Group reported a decline in profit after tax of 82% to Kshs. 24
Million for the six months period ended June 2019 as compared to Kshs.
134 Million recorded over the same period in 2018.
This was occasioned by an 18% decrease in revenues mainly driven by a
28% drop in equity turnover which declined from Kshs. 108.5 Billion
for the six months ended 30 June 2018 to Kshs. 78.1 Billion for the
six months ended 30 June 2019.
This in turn led to a reduction in equity trading levies by 28% from
Kshs. 259.9 Million for the six months ended 30 June 2018 to Kshs.
187.5 Million for the six months ended 30 June 2019.
The decline in the equity turnover was as a result of low domestic
demand which saw an increase in asset allocation towards the fixed
Bonds turnover however edged up 16% to settle at Kshs. 360 Billion for
the six months ended 30 June 2019 as compared to the same period in
During the same period, the NSE reviewed its administrative costs
leading to a one-off staff restructuring cost of Kshs. 52 Million.
This is not expected to recur in the second half of 2019.
Interest income in the review period decreased by 20% to Kshs. 47.2
Million from Kshs. 58.9 Million recorded over a similar period in 2018
due to utilization of deposits on acquisition of strategic
Share of profit in associate decreased by 66% from Kshs. 14.7 Million
for the six months ended 30 June 2018 to Kshs. 5 Million for the same
period in 2019 due to the decline in trading performance and increased
Other comprehensive loss of Kshs. 10.7 Million for the period under
review relates to unrealised loss on the fair value of a quoted
investment acquired in 2019. This was passed through Other Reserves.
total assets declined marginally by 1% from Kshs. 2.31 Billion as at
30 June 2018 to Kshs. 2.29 Billion as at 30 June 2019.
Current liabilities as at 30 June 2019 include a first and final
dividend approved for the financial year ended 31 December 2018 of
Kshs. 127.2 Million which was paid in July 2019.
Cash generated from operations for the six months ended 30 June 2019
declined as a result of the drop-in performance for the period and
utilization of funds on strategic acquisitions.
OUTLOOK – SECOND HALF OF 2019
Our expectation on market performance in the second half of 2019 is
positive, driven by reduction of interest rates by the Federal Reserve
Bank from the previous rate of 2.25% to 2.50% to the current benchmark
rate of 2% to 2.25% effected in July 2019; which could spur activity
in emerging and frontier markets by foreign investors.
Stable macro-economic conditions supported by increased
infrastructural investments by the Government will offer private
sector players growth opportunities through their participation in the
Big Four Agenda.
The successful launch of the NSE NEXT Derivatives Market at the
beginning of July 2019 presents a great opportunity for the NSE to
diversify its revenue streams whilst providing investors advanced risk
management tools and a new avenue for deployment of capital.
The market will also increase liquidity of underlying assets as well
as buttress our position as a leading financial services hub in
Africa. The launch is a key milestone in the achievement of our
In the second half of the year, we will place special focus on
increasing interaction with local and international investors and
issuers in a bid to increase activity in the market.
The NSE will also leverage on the Ibuka Program to create a pipeline
of well-structured companies ready to list or access other capital
options offered by the NSE.
The Program has grown in leaps and bounds since its launch in 2018,
attracting 16 companies since inception, underpinning the program’s
attractiveness among Kenyan companies.
The NSE will gear up efforts to facilitate issuance of corporate bonds
to enable companies’ access short term capital to support their growth
and expansion strategies.
We will maintain our focus on information services, with NSE providing
real time comprehensive market data on a cost basis, to data vendors
and other consumers of data who need the same to make informed
The NSE plans to grow this revenue line by actively engaging with
entities and institutions that rely on market data to make business
With the ongoing upgrade of the Automated Trading System, we
anticipate increased trading activity catalyzed by increased systems
efficiencies and trading capabilities.
During the period, the NSE will enhance internal efficiencies at an
enterprise wide level and initiate strategic cost reduction
initiatives to optimize resources in line with its commitment to
maximize shareholder and stakeholder value.
The NSE will also benefit from reduced staff costs as a result of the
staff restructuring carried out in the first half of 2019.
The Board of Directors does not recommend the payment of an interim
dividend for the first half of the year 2019.
They are correlated to Trading Activity and I don't see an immediate Upturn.