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LUSAKA (AFP) — Zambia’s international reserves hit over a billion dollars this year, the highest figure in the country’s history, the central bank governor announced on Saturday.
Caleb Fundanga said Zambia had recorded 1.1 billion dollars in foreign reserves up from 706 million dollars that the country accumulated in 2006.

“Zambia has continued to record favourable external sector performance resulting in an accumulation of gross international reserves of 1.1 billion in December 2007,” Fundanga said in a statement.

“This is the highest the country has ever accumulated,” he added.

He said Zambia’s economy is expected to grow by 6.2 percent in 2008, while the country’s inflation will remain at the single-digit level.

“The overriding objective of monetary policy in 2008 is to consolidate the gains made in establishing price stability by achieving a third consecutive year of single-digit inflation,” Fundanga said.

Zambia’s inflation rate stands at 8.9 percent.

He said the country will face major challenges next year due to the projected rise in prices of petroleum products at the international market and the higher electricity tariffs in the southern African region.

Copyright © 2007 AFP

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MUMBAI: The Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resources is close to increasing its stake in Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia to 79.4% by buying out a portion of the Zambian government’s holding.

The London-listed Vedanta, which owns 51% stake in Konkola, wants to increase the stake by buying out Zambia Copper Investments’ (ZCI) 28.4% stake in the largest copper mine there. The state-run ZCCM Investment Holdings holds 20.6% stake in Konkola.

“For the acquisition of 51% stake, Vedanta had paid $48.2 million in 2004. As the valuation of the copper mines doubled in three years, it will be curious to know how much Vedanta would be paying for ZCI’s stake,” said a source close to the development. Senior Vedanta officials said the process of acquiring the stake is on. They declined to reveal further details.

Vedanta has been discussing with ZCI the call option, which was agreed when Vedanta bought a 51% stake from the Zambian government in 2004. The company could not exercise the call option as the two parties failed to agree on the valuation of ZCI’s shares.

Adding fuel to fire, Zambian economists and investment analysts have voiced their opposition to Vedanta’s buy-out of national resource. ZCI has only Konkola stake as its asset at present. Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal recently announced that the two parties had resolved their differences and that an independent valuation is in progress.

While ZCI chairman Tom Kamwendo was quoted by a Zambian daily, “With the resolution of differences over valuation, the next step for the company is to offer its interest to Vedanta.”

Vedanta shares were hoverng below 2,030 pence on London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, down 1.36% on speculation that ZCI may sell its stake through the Lusaka Stock Exchange. On November 23, the share had shot up 12% on market buzz that a Chinese mining company may buy out the promoters’ stake in Vedanta.

“ZCI’s shares in Konkola are being offered to Vedanta rather than being sold through the Lusaka exchange or sold in any other way because that is the provision of the legal agreement that was reached at the time Vedanta was acquiring its current 51% shareholding in Konkola,” said Mr Kamwendo. On public misgivings about the stake increase, Mr Kamwendo said such concerns were better resolved between the Zambian authorities and Vedanta.

Source: Economic Times

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ALTThere was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffett, the second richest man in America who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:

1. He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

2. He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

3. He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha , that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

4. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5. He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.

6. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis. He has given his CEO’s only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder’s money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

7. He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch Television.

8. Bill Gates, America’s richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffett. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffett.

9. Warren Buffett does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.

His advice to young people: “Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself and Remember:

A. Money doesn’t create man; it is the man who created money.

B. Live your life as simple as you are.

C. Don’t do what others say, just listen to them, but do what you feel good.

D. Don’t go for brand name; just wear those things in which u feel comfortable.

E. Don’t waste your money on unnecessary things; just spend on those who really are in need.

F. After all it’s your life so why give chance to others to rule your life.”

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LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Newly Africa-focused Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital has launched a stock index covering 11 markets in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting growing interest in the region, the bank said on Wednesday.

The RC SSA 50 index is made up of 50 equities and represents 62 percent of the total market capitalisation of the domiciled sub-Saharan equity market, at $61.3 billion, Renaissance Capital, also known as RenCap, said in a statement.

The index covers equities in Botswana, the West African regional stock exchange Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Monetaires (BRVM), Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The base date of the index is Jan. 2, 2007, and the total dollar return of the index since inception is 39 percent, compared with a gain of 29 percent in the benchmark MSCI global emerging equity index, the bank said.

Investors have shown an increasing interest in Africa as they search for higher returns within emerging markets, but lack of liquidity remains a deterrent.

RenCap, a 12-year old firm with brokering, private equity and a $4.5 billion asset management business, told Reuters earlier this year it plans to double its $500 million investment into Africa by next year and aims to help African firms raise capital on global markets.

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By NANCY MWAPE

LuSE abandons plans to link itself to JSE

THE Lusaka Stock Exchange has abandoned an ambitious plan to link with Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)- Securities and Exchange due to cost considerations.

 

Johannesburg Stock Exchange – Africa’s Largest

Last year, LuSE indicated that it was scouting for US$1.1 million to link its operations with JSE Securities and Exchange by this year.

LuSE had also said the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation was studying LuSE’s plan and would fund the project.

But responding to a press query, LuSE general manager, Beatrice Nkhanza, said plans to link with JSE had been abandoned for various reasons among them the cost considerations.

“Plans to link LuSE to JSE have been abandoned for various reasons.

LuSE therefore is going it alone…by sourcing and financing of the system, just like Nairobi, Dar-es Salaam and Botswana,” she said.

Mrs Nkhanza however pointed out that LuSE was in the process of sourcing and installing an automated system and was currently consulting.

She stated the automated system would be operational sometime next year.

Mrs Nkhanza said in the region, only Namibia Stock Exchange was linked to the JSE Securities and
Exchange.

The aim of linking with JSE Securities and Exchange was to integrate network of national securities market in the region.

In 1997 at Livingstone’s Sun hotel, a committee of Southern Africa Development Community Stock Exchange was formed to integrate stock exchanges, make markets liquid and improve their operations.

By last year September, member States that included South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia had harmonised listing requirements.

Getting LuSE linked with JSE securities and Exchange was expected to create a central point for inflow of foreign portfolio investment and enhance LuSE’s exposure to investors.

Other expected benefits included improved liquidity across multiple markets and LuSE being able to be seen on the London Stock Exchange via JSE Securities and Exchange.

Zambia Daily Mail

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Former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said it is possible that the euro could replace the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of choice.

According to an advance copy of an interview to be published in Thursday’s edition of the German magazine Stern, Greenspan said that the dollar is still slightly ahead in its use as a reserve currency, but added that “it doesn’t have all that much of an advantage” anymore.

The euro has been soaring against the U.S. currency in recent weeks, hitting all-time high of $1.3927 last week as the dollar has fallen on turbulent market conditions stemming from the ongoing U.S. subprime crisis. The Fed meets this week and is expected to lower its benchmark interest rate from the current 5.25 percent.

Greenspan said that at the end of 2006, some 25 percent of all currency reserves held by central banks were held in euros, compared to 66 percent for the U.S. dollar.

In terms of being used as a payment for cross-border transactions, the euro is trailing the dollar only slightly with 39 percent to 43 percent.

Greenspan said the European Central Bank has become “a serious factor in the global economy.”

He said the increased usage of the euro as a reserve currency has led to a lowering of interest rates in the euro zone, which has “without any doubt contributed to the current economic growth.”

© 2007 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

By press time of the article above, the US Federal Reserve had not yet announced its intentions to cut benchmark rates by half a percentage point.

As of the time of this posting the rate stood at 4.75% bringing new surge in the markets around the world with the Dow Jones gaining over 300 points in one day … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

Market Reaction Around The World …


StarPhoenix

Interest rates decision spurs Australian stock market
Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia – 1 hour ago
THE US central bank’s decision to slash interest rates for the first time in four years spurred the Australian stock market to its biggest one-day rise in a
Fed Cuts Rate Half Point, and Stock Markets Soar New York Times
Fed lowers interest rate, and stock markets soar Kansas City Star
Fed’s Rate Cut Korea Times
TheStreet.com (subscription) – San Jose Mercury News
all 2,326 news articles »


Aljazeera.net

Asia markets soar after US rate cut
Aljazeera.net, Qatar – 8 hours ago
Asian stock markets have seen strong gains, following the first cut in US interest rates for four years. Shares on Wednesday were up by more than 3 per cent
Asia Stocks Jump After Wall Street Surge Washington Post
Most Asian markets lower; Tokyo stocks fall amid renewed concern International Herald Tribune
Financials weigh on Asian stock markets Financial Times
Euro2day – Euro2day
all 393 news articles »


StarPhoenix

Toronto stocks seen rising on commodities
Reuters Canada, Canada – 3 hours ago
TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto’s main stock market index was seen opening higher on Wednesday as the US Federal Reserve’s bigger-than-expected interest rate
Stocks surge post-Fed Globe and Mail
Toronto stocks steady ahead of Fed decision Reuters Canada
Toronto stocks steady before Fed decision Reuters Canada
Globe and Mail – The Canadian Press
all 146 news articles »


Montreal Gazette

Clash Of The Emirates
Forbes, NY – 21 hours ago
could give Nasdaq an extra-thick financial shield against the ambitions of Dubai as well as more investment in international stock markets for Qatar.
Stockholm shares close lower, but OMX up on M&A speculation – UPDATE Forbes
all 48 news articles »


Hindu

Stock markets, rupee scale record highs
Earthtimes.org – 2 hours ago
The 30-stock Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index (Sensex) rose 653.63 points or 4.2 percent to 16322.75 at close. All the components of the index were
Markets surge on Fed Reserves rate cut buzz Business Standard
Sensex breaches 16000 mark; up 653 points at close Zee News
Sensex recovers initial losses in late morning deals Hindu
Hindu – Economic Times
all 87 news articles »

Stock Market Update – Wed Sep 19 12:00:01 EDT 2007
Reuters – 11 minutes ago
5.5% gain in the stock. The feeling that the market is getting a bit overbought on a short-term basis could invite some afternoon selling interest.

Stock Market Update – Wed Sep 19 09:45:01 EDT 2007
Reuters – 2 hours ago
COM] The stock market has started the session on an upbeat note as the good vibes from yesterday’s trading continue to be felt.

Global stock markets rally after US interest-rate cut
Belfast Telegraph, United Kingdom – 8 hours ago
Stock markets across the world are continuing to rally amid signs that the global credit crunch is starting to ease. The rally follows a decision by the US

Stock Market Update – Wed Sep 19 10:35:01 EDT 2007
Reuters – 1 hour ago
COM] Buying interest has calmed after the excited start that followed yesterday’s rate-cut rally and the huge gains in foreign markets overnight.


Capital News 9

After Fed cut, debt market problems persist
CNNMoney.com – 1 hour ago
Global stock markets cheered Tuesday after the central bank cut the target for a key short-term interest rate. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
AP Executive Morning Briefing The Associated Press
Debt Market Looks to Fed to Restore Confidence New York Times
Wall St. awaits the other Fed guy CNNMoney.com
CNN-IBN – USA Today
all 157 news articles »

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AEL – A South African Manufacturer Of Explosives Now Listed On The Lusaka Stock Exchange …

 

FILL IT UP An AEL Zambia re-pump emulsion truck filling up at the company’s plant outside Mufulira

Picture by: AEL

FILL IT UP An AEL Zambia re-pump emulsion truck filling up at the company’s plant outside Mufulira

By: Jonathan Faurie

Commercial explosives manufacturing and distribution company, African Explosives (AEL) has made a long-term investment in the Zambian Mining industry by listing on the Lusaka Stock Exchange says AEL international business director Stuart Wade.

The listing was confirmed in October 2006, Zambian investors and employees currently hold 20% of the company’s shares.

Wade reports that Zambia has traditionally been a large business hub for AEL. During the 1990s there was a slow down in mining activities but renewed interest in the region has made AEL’s Zambian expansion more possible and there are now significant investment plans.

“The company is in the process of upgrading, investing, reconfiguring, and aligning itself around the growth in the market place,” says Wade. This investment will expand the companies regional presence in Central Africa. The investment is configured to deliver products, blasting solutions and develop long term partnerships with customers.

Wade says that AEL Zambia is in a position in Africa to support both itself and the region and feels that the Zambian operation has the biggest growth potential. Copper, which is abundant in Zambia, is in huge demand at the moment contributing to the fact that the Zambian and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) operations are positioned to take part in the mining boom in the Central African region.

AEL has earmarked Zambia and the DRC as strategic growth areas for the company. Wade reports that the amount of money that is currently being invested in Zambia could be doubled when AEL DRC is fully established in the coming years. The company has achieved this growth through five board approved investment projects that are being executed in order to grow in Zambia.

Meanwhile, AEL has confirmed its involvement at Australian miner Equinox Minerals’ Lumwana mine in north western Zambia, reports Wade.

“This is by far one of the biggest greenfields projects that we have worked on to date,” says Wade.

The mine is 65 km west of the town of Solwezi. Equinox has acquired a large-scale mining license, which covers an area of around 1 355 km2, and includes two major copper deposits, Malundwe and Chimiwungo, as well as 27 exploration prospects.

The two copper deposits are 7 km apart, and will be mined sequentially by openpit mining methods. AEL reports that the mine design forecasts the extraction of 348-million tons of ore. Equinox has allocated land and amenities to mine supply partners to supply the mine, and plans to establish a town site to cater for up to 5 000 people.

AEL Zambia MD Wayne Du Chenne pointed out that the size of Lumwana, and the explosives needed to mine 20-million tons of ore a year, would require the erection of a bulk emulsion manufacturing plant on site to produce 3 000 t of bulk emulsion that will be required in the third year of the operation.

“Added to this, will be three to four mobile manufacturing units that will travel to the benches and deliver the emulsion down the hole. This infrastructure and capital equipment will require an investment of close to R30-million by AEL,” Du Chenne reveals.

Wade explains that the company has already been through the preparation phase of the project and is currently commencing with the building of magazines and civil work on the bulk emulsion plant. Once completed, AEL will have a bulk explosives manufacturing plant within the mine’s light industrial area Wade reports that once the site is fully functional it will conform to all the client’s requirements from the international fire protection standards to the environmental protection requirements.

Wade reports that the construction phase to bring the plant to full capacity will be completed by the first quarter of 2008.

Wade says the contract between AEL and Equinox will cover a period of ten years. While not disclosing the value of the Lumwana contract, he commits that the company’s Zambian operation faces even further expansion.

AEL is further positioning itself to start explosives supply to First Quantum Minerals, frontier mine in the DRC. The mine is still in the early stages of its development with pre-stripping and establishment of the mine is currently in progress.

He reports that the changing legislative environment, taxes, duties and logistics are the biggest challenges that the company faces in Africa.

Wade adds that the industry-wide lack of skilled labour is a concern for AEL. “AEL is currently manning itself up with competent people from each region who are able to work in the highly technical environment of explosives,” says Wade.

Wade feels that skills transfer is a key area that AEL has been focusing on as part of its long term strategy, “when we enter into new projects in Zambia we use the existing employees and structures to man up the projects. This provides excellent opportunities to grow local skills and competencies for future business growth,” he says

AEL also runs businesses in Ghana, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.

“AEL has set up business hubs in Central, Eastern, and Western Africa to service the needs of clients outside of South Africa,” Wade concludes.

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