British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meeting in Brussels Friday.
The pound rallied against all other major currencies on Friday morning, scoring a six-month against the euro, after the U.K. and the European Union came to terms on issues that were holding up the next stage of Brexit talks.
Sterling GBPEUR, +0.2709% jumped to €1.1503, trading at the highest level since early June and up from €1.1445 late Thursday in New York. Against the dollar GBPUSD, -0.0445% , the pound initially spiked to an intraday high of $1.3521, but has since slipped back to $1.3499. Sterling traded at $1.3475 on Thursday.
The gains for the U.K. currency come after days of tense negotiation between London and Brussels. Those ended early Friday, with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, saying there had been a breakthrough in Brexit talks.
In a press conference, he said that “sufficient progress” has now been made for the talks to move into the second phase, which will cover trade agreements and a potential transition period.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May needed to resolve one last issue — the Irish border — to satisfy the Brussels negotiators. The question of whether to have a “hard” or “soft” border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland had already scuttled a potential deal on Monday.
“The political significance of progress in Brexit talks is quite profound — not least as it reduces the tail risk of a ‘no deal’ scenario and a complete breakdown in negotiations,” said Viraj Patel, foreign exchange analyst at ING.
“While the hard part (trade talks) is still to come — and a realization of this may keep GBP/USD capped at 1.36 in the near-term (EUR/GBP around 0.87) — we do ultimately believe that there is more upside left in GBP over the next 3 months,” he said in a note.
The breakthrough reduces the risk that the U.K. will crash out of the EU in 2019 without an agreement on issues such as trade. EU leaders will consider whether to give a green light to advancing to the next stage when they meet Dec. 14-15 in Brussels.
Beyond the Brexit news, the main event on Friday is likely to be the release of the closely watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls for November, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 200,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month and that the unemployment rate stays at a 17-year low of 4.1%.
The ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.29% was up 0.2% at 93.973 ahead of the release. The euro bought $1.1744, down from $1.1774 on Thursday.
Gold investors are kidding themselves if they’re counting on a “bitcoin bump” for gold prices.
It is of course understandable why long-struggling gold GCQ8, -1.03% investors are hoping for such a boost. Bitcoin BTCUSD, +21.70% is up more than 11,000% year-to-date, while gold bullion has gained 11%. The yellow metal has even lagged the stock market: the S&P 500 SPX, +0.34% has gained 20% since the beginning of the year, including dividends.
Hope is not a strategy, however. Even if bitcoin and bullion are correlated — a big “if” that I will discuss in a moment — gold investors are forgetting that both bitcoin and bullion could just as easily re-establish their correlation by bitcoin plunging as gold skyrocketing.
Furthermore, the gold market remains much larger than the combined market cap of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Currently, for example, the market-cap of the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies is $338 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com. That’s just 4.4% of the current market value of all above-ground stocks of gold in the world ($7.7 trillion, according to data from the World Gold Council).
In other words, cryptocurrencies remain a very small tail to wag gold’s very large dog.
My skepticism about a “bitcoin bump” is bolstered by the absence of any significant correlation between bitcoin and gold bullion. I had my PC’s statistical package search for correlations between the two over the trailing week, month, two months and three months, and in no event were any of them significant at the 95% confidence level that statisticians often use when determining if a pattern is genuine.
As long-term readers of this column know, I believe the more plausible explanation for gold’s shorter-term direction is the prevailing sentiment among gold market timers. Just as contrarian analysis teaches us, gold tends to struggle when there is excessive bullishness—and vice versa.
Take what I concluded six weeks ago, the last time I devoted a column to gold market sentiment. At a time when an ounce of gold was trading at around $1,275 an ounce, I wrote that “There is not enough skepticism among gold timers to support a big rally in gold and gold mining shares.” That’s because the average recommended gold market exposure level was well above the minus 30% level that in the past has often accompanied significant gold market lows.
Bullion today is no higher today than then, and yet the gold timers I monitor are more bullish. That means we are even further away from a contrarian buy signal. So contrarians continue to counsel patience.
The usual qualifications apply, of course. Contrarian analysis isn’t always right, and even when it is it provides insight only into the market’s near-term direction.
But insofar as past sentiment patterns persist, gold is unlikely to mount a significant rally in coming weeks — regardless of how bitcoin performs.
The agriculture sector, which is the leading employer in the country, is still very far from the stage where it can attract needed funding from the private sector, Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, has said.
According to him, banks and financial service providers are cautious of lending to the sector because the country has yet to come up with a clear plan for sustainable development and transformation of the agriculture value chain.
“From where we stand,” he said, “we are very, very far away from where agribusiness can attract the most important resource that every sector needs, which is money.”
Mr. Andani said this at a breakfast meeting organised by Stanbic Bank and Graphic Communications Group in Accra.
“We have to collaborate to create the enabling environment that enables farmers, agribusiness people to access the most important resource—money—in a very competitive manner. So, we have to have a national level organisation that makes agribusiness something that people will look up to.
We have to have, within the national economy, an agri-sector organisation that makes agribusiness very attractive, and we must have – at the farmer or business unit level – an organisation that makes the deployment of capital into these units profitable,” he added.
Currently, the sector – which contributed 11.5 percent to GDP in the second quarter of the year – is confronted with several challenges, notable among which is lack of financing.
The Bank of Ghana’s Annual Percentage and Interest Rate report shows that the average lending rate for the sector is at 31 percent, with some banks refusing to even lend to the sector.
However, Mr. Andani who was speaking under the theme ‘Securing the Economy with Agriculture’, described the sector as the first line of national security and defence, hence the need for closer collaboration among all stakeholders to overcome the various hurdles that confront the sector.
“There are banks around the world that finance agriculture, and Stanbic Bank has financed agriculture in economies where the country knows where they are going with the sector; but we are very far away from this.
“It is our intent to support the sector; that is why we are part of this platform, so that we can come to a national consensus with regard to what we are doing with the sector. We can come to an industry consensus on how we can work together in an integrated manner to make it a good business, and how the individual farmers can organise themselves to attract the most important resource, which is money.”
Dr. Yabuku Alhassan, a former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and one of the discussants, agreed that closer collaboration among various ministries and other government agencies is key to solving some of the sector’s challenges.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is only a coordinating agency and does not have all the capacity to deal with everything that is impacting on agriculture. For instance, if you are talking about roads, the ministry doesn’t have the mandate to construct roads; so, it must work with Ministry of Roads in identifying priority roads that can support the sector.
“Likewise, the Ministry of Health should also work with the Agric Ministry to identify what crops can impact on the people’s nutrition. This is how we must work, and I believe that as we institutionalise and move forward this will become the case,” he said.
Cameroon’s economic growth rate is expected to slip to 3.7 percent this year, down from an earlier estimate of around 4 percent, due to falling oil production, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday.
The IMF approved a $666 million, three-year extended credit facility in June for Cameroon, which has been hit hard by the global decline in crude prices. Economic growth came in at 4.5 percent last year.
In a statement at the end of a 10-day review mission, the IMF said that it had reached an agreement with the government on economic and financial policy ahead of the first review of the programme, which is expected in mid-December.
“The economic programme of the country remains on the right track despite the difficult context. All the quantitative benchmarks established in the programme…have been fulfilled,” said mission head Corinne Delechat.
The government has been forced to concentrate resources on combating Islamist Boko Haram militants along its northwestern border with Nigeria. It has also faced unrest in two predominantly English-speaking provinces since late last year.
The IMF, meanwhile, said that inflation would remain low this year at 0.5 percent.
Ghana is to confirm its participation in the biggest world expo – to be held in Dubai, UAE in 2020 – following fruitful discussions between the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC) and the organising committee of Expo 2020.
“We have had a meeting with the CEO of Dubai Expo 2020; we haven’t yet confirmed our participation, but in principle we are very engaged. We are going to do what we need to do to be here,” Mr. Yoofi Grant, CEO of the GIPC, said at a media interaction at the Dubai Expo 2020.
The World Expo is one of the world’s oldest and largest international events, taking place every five years and lasting six months.
It is a festival for all, where everyone can learn, innovate, create progress and have fun by sharing ideas and working together.
Each Expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress. Expo 2020 Dubai’s core theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
At the 154th Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in November, 2013, Dubai defeated rival bids from Turkey’s Izmir, Brazil’s Sao Paolo, and Russia’s Yekaterinburg following three rounds of voting.
The hosting of Expo 2020 will generate approximately 277,000 new job opportunities between 2013 and 2020.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.
Over 25 million visitors are expected to attend the 6-month long event, with 70 percent expected to be international visitors – the highest proportion in Expo history.
Mr. Grant said, given the profile of investors and visitors expected, “It is a great opportunity for Ghana to showcase itself to the world”.
He added that: “As Ghana positions to be a regional hub in West Africa, we also need to show the investing public what we have. We need to start preparing from now. As GIPC, leading this effort with Ministry of Trade and Industries and other agencies, we will try and put our best foot forward”.
Lawmakers enjoy free treatment at Aso Rock clinic –Presidency
$5.5bn loan: FG not borrowing to pay salaries, says APC
Reps summon NBC, Seven-Up, Cadbury, 88 others over harmful soft drinks
2017: NPA to spend N278bn of N288bn revenue
We source 75% of raw materials locally – Guinness MD
Ailing minister returns from US medical trip
FRSC refers 4,000 traffic offenders for mental evaluation
Alaafin picks Gani Adams as new Aare Ona Kakanfo
Gunmen kill three NDLEA men, steal guns
Police sergeant, retired ASP arrested for ‘robbery’ in Lagos hotel
Kidnapped zoo director, Ehanire, regains freedom
Niger civil servants remanded for forging promotion letters
Alleged adultery: Mob beats man to death in Abia community
Gully threatens Calabar-Ikom road, motorists groan
Ondo gets special court for illegal structure builders
Fulani herdsmen, farmers sign peace accord in Nasarawa
Police nab 14-year-old girl, others for beheading man
Akwa United win 2017 Aiteo Cup
Vaccine: IPOB tells pupils to return to school
No $25 billion contract was awarded by NNPC, says Osinbajo
Fed Govt borrowing to save jobs, says minister
ALGON, 16 foreign partners to create 5.9m jobs from new agriculture scheme
Army ends Operation Python Dance in Southeast
AGF urges court to dismiss suit seeking Magu’s sack
Obasanjo, Yar’ Adua, Jonathan, Buhari are accidental leaders, says Na’Abba
SON reduces product registration time to 60 days
Gunmen kill three NDLEA operatives
Evans: police took my N55m, $10,000, 29 vehicles, others
I don’t know where Kanu is, says governor
Al-Makura hails female team for winning National League
Ugwuanyi, Ekweremadu hail Fed Govt on 41km Enugu-Ebonyi road
Fayose gives cars to aides over EFCC detention
Six dead, five injured in Plateau attack
Kano records 98,000 malaria cases
Police arrest 16 kidnap suspects in Akwa Ibom
Labourer jailed 10 months for stealing tyres
$5.5bn Loan Request: PDP, APC At War As FG Explains Borrowings
Southern Leaders Tackle Buhari Over Directive To World Bank
Nobody Should Kill Nigerians In South Africa— Jacob Zuma
African countries should replicate Obasanjo’s library —Mbeki
Aso Rock Clinic received zero allocation for capital project in 2017 – Perm Sec.
NAICOM Commences Review Of Companies’ Capital Base
FG settles 73 ex-militants with fish, crop, poultry farms
Dangote Employs Youth Graduates For Rice Farming In Kogi
Lagos Has Broken Culture Of Silence Around Sexual, Domestic Abuse — AMBODE
Tension As Ile-Ife Youths Accuse Modakeke Of Encroachment
2018: My deputy’s selection was divine arrangement —Fayose
Commissioner Points Hypertension, Diabetes As Major Causes Of Blindness
Delta inaugurates 8-man c’ttee on mining
Sokoto Earmarks N1.5bn For Road Projects
Anambra Judiciary Sets Up C’ttee On Nkerehi, Umuchukwu Dispute
I refuse to live my life in fear. – Fela Kuti
When a nation “MOVES ON SO EASILY ”
By Paschal Mbanefo.
Tragedies are bound to occur, crimes are part and parcel of a society, but what defines the sanity of a society is proactive and reactive actions taken either to forestall occurrences of these tragedies or crimes, or at least bring perpetrators to justice as a deterrent to perpetuity of such atrocities. Unfortunately, humanism is inexcusably fast evading us, perhaps being challenged by the reckless priority to water the garden of our insatiable avarice.
You may be wondering where this sermon is heading to, but relax for it is not far-fetched. This emerging tendency by both our leaders and followers alike to “move on so easily” is one of the greatest challenges to responsible and accountable leadership. Nothing emboldens tyrants and domineering leaders like a palpable absence of challenge and constant interrogation by the followers. Apathy and lack of active citizen participation through unflinching calls for accountability and responsibility has been the bane and the greatest catalyst to continued impunity and disregard to rule of law. Though there are efforts in this regard but they are highly infinitesimal.
Just under this administration, Shiite Muslims were massacred in their numbers for a crisis that could have been nipped in the bud without extreme and fatal force. As I am writing this, their leader, El-Zakzacky who was brutalized is yet to regain his freedom. “We moved on” and nobody has been made to give proper account of what transpired in Zaria.
Terrorists and murderers who have continued to hide under the guise of herdsmen, with due respect to genuine herdmen have been killing people on a sole determinant factor which is “WHEN THEY WANT”, and they are not being brought to book. And it seems “we are moving on with it”
Need I talk about Ozubulu massacre with it’s attendant record breaking investigation that culminated in the unfounded assumption that drug barons struck in violent negotiation of deals. Even if we are to buy into that in fairness, aren’t the barons humans? What did the victims get, just lucky to get a requiem mass perhaps because the church in their kindness was directly involved. “We moved on”.
IPOB members were dastardly tortured and brutalized with some sent to their untimely death by their “national army”. As I am writing this no serious investigations into those barbarism, and the whereabout of their leader still unknown and slowly we are about moving on.
Let no one express surprise tomorrow if you hear or read that peaceful protesters are massacred in Lagos. Injustice has no religious, tribal or gender face, it will always be injustice no matter where it was perpetrated, on whom it was decorated with and how it was perpetrated. We should all rise up collectively as humans and condemn injustice, tyranny and subjugation anywhere we see them. That’s the duty we owe our nation as responsible citizens.
If we continue to “MOVE ON EASILY ” in the face of injustice, then injustice will unabashedly march on in our face.
Nigeria LNG road delivery scheme to provide cheaper fuel: Nigeria launched a scheme on Tuesday to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) to regions not linked by pipeline, supplying power plants and industries with cheaper, cleaner fuel, officials said. Nigeria, a major oil producer, lacks refining capacity, so most crude is exported and the West African nation imports gasoline and other refined products. A creaking power network also means firms often rely on expensive diesel generators. (Source: Reuters)
Osinbajo commissions fertiliser plant, BUA cement factory in Edo: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday inaugurated a 60,000 metric tonnes per annum Edo State fertiliser plant at Auchi, and a two million metric tonnes per annum BUA Cement Plant at Okpella in Etsako West and Etsako East local government areas of the state. (Source: Thisday)
NNPC boosts gas supply to Gencos, redeploys top staff: The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) increased its daily average natural gas supply to the nation’s gas power plants by 123% to 730 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) in June. In contrast, the corporation supplied the power plants 327mmscf/d in the corresponding period in 2016, the monthly financial and operations report released on Tuesday showed. (Source: Thisday)
BoI approves N5bn intervention fund for miners: The Bank of Industry (BoI) and the ministry of mines and steel development on Tuesday sealed a N5bn (US$13.9m) financing pact under the Artisanal and Small-scale Miners Financing Support Fund for the development of the mining sector. The amount, which is to be disbursed to the miners at a single-digit interest rate of 5% with a repayment period of between one year and five years, is aimed at addressing the funding challenges in the sector. (Source: Punch)
ETHIOPIA PARTNERS UK’S ENERGY AFRICA TO BOOST ITS SOLAR POTENTIAL
On the 2nd of August, 2017, the Ethiopian government announced that it has taken an initiative to maximize the country’s Solar potential by signing an Energy Compact with the UK’s Energy Africa campaign to achieve its ambitious energy access targets.
This initiative elevates the hope that the modern energy access challenges in the country will be depleted.
The compact will enable the country to develop partnerships with the private sector, build delivery capacity within the Government, and support businesses that wish to work in and support the acceleration of the off-grid solar market in Ethiopia by creating business opportunities, more jobs and helping improve access to electricity.
To enhance the economy, there is need to foster an environment in which companies can enter energy generation, transmission and distribution markets, climb the value chain, and build the investment partnerships that can drive growth and create jobs.
Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world with the population size of over 100 million people. Despite revelation that the country’s GDP has recorded an impressive growth in recent years which ranges between 6% and 12% per year, approximately 34% of her population lives below poverty line.
Ethiopia’s ability to achieve Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) has been significantly constrained by challenges in the power sector such as low rate to access modern energy services. Energy supply is said to be primarily based on biomass. The sources of the country’s energy are 94% waste and biomass, 5.7% oil and 1.6% hydropower hyper. The demand for energy is expected to rise by a rate of 10% to 14% per year till 2037.
As a country that prides itself as the powerhouse of Africa with the plan to export power to Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti and even Yemen or Egypt, it is smart that the government seeks to invest in renewable energy resources and hydropower which are key donors to its economic growth.
The epileptic state of energy in a country can stunt the growth of domestic companies and discourage international investment and foreign firms from setting up manufacturing plants in the country, hence the need to invest in other renewable technologies to help diversify energy sources.
The hydropower potential in Ethiopia is important as it can make contribution to neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea as they constitute a readily available market for hydro-electric power within the region.
The government has taken initiatives to meet skyrocketing demand for energy in the country. An example is the 5-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) launched in 2010 to increase the total generating capacity, as well as the development of the renewable energy sector in the country. Also, there are institutional setups, agencies and departments working towards ensuring that the energy potential in the country is harnessed to its full potential. With consistency in its effort to support innovative ways of supplying clean energy, Ethiopia can significantly forge ahead in years to come.