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Midcom Announces $50m Investment, Creates over 5,000 Jobs

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Midcom

Midcom Group has announced a $50million retail expansion, growing its Mstore brand from 300 outlets, to 1,300 in 2018 and over 2,000 outlets by 2020, which will make Mstore the largest mobile and electronics retailer in Africa and create over 5,000 jobs.

Midcom operates across 17 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia in a variety of industries including telecommunications, consumer electronics, dairy, education, commercial and residential real estate and Forex.

Mstore currently has a presence across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Togo and expansion will see the store increase its presence in these markets and enter new countries, including Chad, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

Midcom Group’s Managing Director, Akash Kumar said in a statement at the weekend that his company had been operating across the continent for over 14 years in an array of industries.

According to him, these industries complement one another by allowing the company to successfully apply the group’s combined knowledge and expertise of African markets and sectors to the continued growth of its brands.

“The expansion of Mstore is the latest realisation of that growth strategy, which we believe any other international organisation moving into these markets would struggle to replicate. By starting small, with 300 locations, we’ve used our knowledge of the markets to apply a strategy that will make us the largest mobile and electronics retailer on the continent. The expansion of Mstore will support another of our businesses, FERO, our recently launched line of mobile phones, by providing full sales and technical support to FERO customers across our markets. This type of on-the-ground support is a service no other mobile operator in Africa is able to offer,” Kumar explained.

Midcom Group’s new FERO range of mobile phones are designed specifically for African markets, offering 16 models, from entry-level feature phones through to sophisticated premium smartphones targeting the top end of the market.

“We are operating retail outlets in prime locations to provide the best experience to our customers, who are now able to enjoy the ease of buying global leading devices in their region with manufacturer warranty. It is a win-win situation for the consumer, our partners and the group,” Kumar added.

All Mstores are strategically located at prime locations in major cities across Africa and are equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and IT tools to manage operations, along with well-trained experts providing customers with knowledge and technical expertise. Each store provides strategic and prominent positions for all brands to display their units. Brand promoters are also present in these stores to provide detailed guidance to customers.

Mstore also provides technical support for customers facing issues with their devices, including a 48-hour turnaround time guarantee to resolve customer issues. MStore generates its loyalty by providing advanced after sales services to satisfy customer needs, including free screen repairs for consumers when the product has been purchased from Mstore.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Gold

Gold Prices Rise as Soft Dollar Supports Safe-haven Appeal

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gold bars - Investors King

Gold prices firmed on Monday, propped up by a subdued dollar and slight retreat in the U.S. Treasury yields, with investors gearing up for a week of speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers for cues on the central bank’s rate hike path.

Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,759.06 per ounce, as of 0400 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,759.00.

While the dollar index softened, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yields eased after hitting their highest since early-July. A weaker dollar offered support to gold prices, making bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies.

“Gold is still looking slightly precarious where it is right now, and it’s probably bouncing off key technical level around $1,750,” IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.

“Gold remains an yield story and that yield story is very much tied back to the tapering story.”

A slew of Fed officials are due to speak this week including Chairman Jerome Powell, who will testify this week before Congress on the central bank’s policy response to the pandemic.

“There’ll be a lot of questions being put to Fed speakers about what the dot plots implied last week and weather there is higher risk of heightened inflation going forward and that rate hikes could be coming in the first half of 2022,” Rodda added.

A pair of Federal Reserve policymakers said on Friday they felt the U.S. economy is already in good enough shape for the central bank to begin to withdraw support for the economy.

Gold is often considered a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which pays no interest.

Investors also kept a close watch on developments in debt-laden property giant China Evergrande saga as the firm missed a payment on offshore bonds last week, with further payment due this week.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, increased 0.1% to 993.52 tonnes on Friday from 992.65 tonnes in the prior session.

Silver rose 0.9% to $22.61 per ounce.

Platinum climbed 1.3% to $994.91, while palladium gained 0.7% to $1,985.32.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Near $80 Per Barrel Amid Supply Constraints

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Brent crude oil - Investors King

Oil prices rose for a fifth straight day on Monday with Brent heading for $80 amid supply concerns as parts of the world sees demand pick up with the easing of pandemic conditions.

Brent crude was up $1.14 or 1.5% at $79.23 a barrel by 0208 GMT, having risen a third consecutive week through Friday. U.S. Oil added $1.11 or 1.5% to $75.09, its highest since July, after rising for a fifth straight week last week.

“Supply tightness continues to draw on inventories across all regions,” ANZ Research said in a note.

Rising gas prices as also helping drive oil higher as the liquid becomes relatively cheaper for power generation, ANZ analysts said in the note.

Caught short by the demand rebound, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, have had difficulty raising output as under-investment or maintenance delays persist from the pandemic.

China’s first public sale of state oil reserves has barely acted to cap gains as PetroChina and Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totalling about 4.43 million barrels.

India’s oil imports hit a three-month peak in August, rebounding from nearly one-year lows reached in July, as refiners in the second-biggest importer of crude stocked up in anticipation of higher demand.

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Crude Oil

Oil Holds Near Highest Since 2018 With Global Markets Tightening

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil held steady near the highest close since 2018, with the global energy crunch set to increase demand for crude as stockpiles fall from the U.S. to China.

Futures in London headed for a third weekly gain. Global onshore crude stocks sank by almost 21 million barrels last week, led by China, according to data analytics firm Kayrros, while U.S. inventories are near a three-year low. The surge in natural gas prices is expected to force some consumers to switch to oil, tightening the market further ahead of the northern hemisphere winter.

China on Friday sold oil to Hengli Petrochemical Co. and a unit of PetroChina Co. in the first auction of crude from its strategic reserves said traders with the knowledge of the matter. Grades sold included Oman, Upper Zakum and Forties.

Oil has rallied recently after a period of Covid-induced demand uncertainty, with some of the world’s largest traders and banks predicting prices may climb further amid the energy crisis. Global crude consumption could rise by an additional 370,000 barrels a day if natural gas costs stay high, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“Underpinning the latest bout of price strength is a tightening supply backdrop,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.

Various underlying oil market gauges are also pointing to a strengthening market. The key spread between Brent futures for December and a year later is near $7, the strongest since 2019. That’s a sign traders are positive about the market outlook.

At the same time, the premium options traders are paying for bearish put options is the smallest since January 2020, another indication that traders are less concerned about a pullback in prices.

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