- Power Outages Plunge South African Growth to 10-Year Low
South Africa, Africa’s second-largest economy, contracted in the first quarter of the year to its lowest in a decade.
The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 3.2 percent amid the worst power outages since 2008.
The economy expanded by 1.4 percent in the final quarter of 2018 but unstable power supply impeded economic output in the first quarter as sectors like the mining, manufacturing, and agriculture contracted due to activity disruption.
The manufacturing contracted by 8.8 percent, while mining declined by 11 percent. Agriculture took the biggest hit, dropped 13 percent in the quarter.
Experts believe weak factory sentiment may hurt the economy even more in the second quarter and may even slip into the second economic recession in successive years.
However, they agreed that consistent power supply could prevent that from happening.
The Government projected the economy will grow by 1.5 percent in 2019 but the central bank predicted 1 percent, saying economic limitations and global happenings are likely to weigh on growth.
Economists predicted 0.9 percent with most saying they won’t be surprised if the economy grew below that number in 2019.
“The only thing about such a large contraction is that it creates a large base effect, which helps an economy to bounce — so you would have to do worse in the second quarter than the first quarter in order to get a technical recession,” said Gina Schoeman, an economist at Citibank South Africa. “We don’t have enough visibility in the high-frequency data, but there’s no doubt, our GDP forecast for the year has been 0.9% and we’ve been below consensus — I wouldn’t be surprised if the consensus drops further now.”
Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.
According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.
The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.
It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.
“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”
Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.
Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension
Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.
OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.
In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.
Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.
Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.
“While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
“The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.”
Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.
Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report
- Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report
Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.
The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.
The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.
“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.
Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.
Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.
The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.
Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.
Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.
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