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Donald Trump has raised his approval ratings by embracing his inner bomb @qz
Law & Politics
Since before he became president on Jan. 20, Donald Trump’s approval
ratings have been low, to say the least: Trump has consistently
registered lower than any president in recent history, even when
comparing his performance with predecessors dealing with especially
difficult circumstances (the Great Recession, for instance).
As of April 18,—88 days into his term—Trump’s approval rating is 39%
according to the Marist Poll, 41% per Gallup, and 40% per a CBS News
poll. Low as these numbers may be, there are good news for the
president, significantly up from the end of March, when at 35%
according to Gallup, Trump had its worst rating ever.
The trend has flipped upward for Trump. And it’s not because his
record on keeping electoral promises has significantly improved. No,
something else looks to be the cause of his increase in
popularity—war, or the threat of it.
Exclusive: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election - documents @Reuters
Law & Politics
A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed
a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump
and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three
current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.
They described two confidential documents from the think tank as
providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence
agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere
with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the
documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute
for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.
The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence
officials appointed by Putin’s office.
The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last
June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government
but was not addressed to any specific individuals.
It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social
media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S.
voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia
than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven
A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the
same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary
Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it
was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead
intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S.
electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an
effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.
The documents were central to the Obama administration's conclusion
that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks
against Democratic Party groups and Clinton's campaign, the current
and former officials said.
“Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute
to draw him a road map,” said one of the sources, a former senior U.S.
That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets,
including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news
agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump’s quest for the
U.S. presidency, the officials said.
Russia Today did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson
for Sputnik dismissed the assertions by the U.S. officials that it
participated in a Kremlin campaign as an “absolute pack of lies.” “And
by the way, it's not the first pack of lies we're hearing from
'sources in U.S. official circles'," the spokesperson said in an
Russia Today and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while
pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question
the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report
by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election
made public in January. [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
Russia Today’s most popular Clinton video - “How 100% of the 2015
Clintons’ ‘charity’ went to ... themselves” - accumulated 9 millions
views on social media, according to the January report.
The report said Russia Today and Sputnik “consistently cast president
elect-Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional media
The report said the agencies did not assess whether Moscow’s effort
had swung the outcome of the race in Trump’s favor, because American
intelligence agencies do not “analyze U.S. political processes or U.S.
public opinion.” [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
The institute’s director when the documents were written, Leonid
Reshetnikov, rose to the rank of lieutenant general during a
33-year-career in Russia’s foreign intelligence service, according to
the institute’s website [bit.ly/2oVhiCF]. After Reshetnikov retired
from the institute in January, Putin named as his replacement Mikhail
Fradkov. The institute says he served as the director of Russia’s
foreign intelligence service from 2007 to 2016. [bit.ly/2os4tvz]
“We did our best for nearly eight years to implement your foreign
policy concept,” Reshetnikov told Putin. “The policy of Russia and the
policy of the President of Russia have been the cornerstone of our
05-DEC-2016 :: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk."
Law & Politics
I have no doubt that Putin ran a seriously 21st predominantly digital
programme of interference which amplified the Trump candidacy. POTUS
Trump was an ideal candidate for this kind of support.
From feeding the hot-house conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant
state of destabilised perception’’), timely and judicious doses of
Wikileaks leaks which drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out
and motivated Trump’s, what we have witnessed is something remarkable
18-APR-2017 US' policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea was over
Law & Politics
The piece de resistance in a geopolitical context last week was the
news that the US’ policy of ‘’strategic patience’’ with North Korea
was over and an Armada [“We are sending an armada, very powerful. We
have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft
carrier.” President Trump] is now parked off the Korean Peninsula.
Machiavelli argued that sometimes it is “a very wise thing to simulate
madness” (Discourses on Livy). Thee madman theory was a feature of
Richard Nixon’s foreign policy.
Oil Tumbles Most in Six Weeks as U.S. Gasoline Supplies Advance
West Texas Intermediate for May delivery dropped $1.97, or 3.8
percent, to settle at $50.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile
Exchange. It was the biggest decline since March 8 and the lowest
close since April 3. Total volume traded was about 30 percent above
the 100-day average. WTI settled below the 50-day and 100-day moving
averages for the first time in two weeks.
Brent for June settlement fell $1.96, or 3.6 percent, to $52.93 a
barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the
lowest close since March 31. The global benchmark crude ended the
session at a $2.08 premium to June WTI.
“Production is up nine straight weeks here to the highest level since
August 2015. The U.S. has increased production by about 600,000
barrels a day since the OPEC agreement, mitigating their cuts.”
World Bank Africa #Africaspulse
Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2 6
percent in 2017, following a marked deceleration in 2016
The pace of the recovery is weak, however, as the region’s three
largest economies—Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa—are projected to
post only a modest rebound in growth following a sharp slowdown in
2016 Investment growth will recover only gradually, amid tight foreign
exchange liquidity conditions in major oil exporters and low investor
confidence in South Africa
Among non-resource intensive countries, such as Ethiopia, Senegal, and
Tanzania, growth is expected to remain generally solid, supported by
Regional growth remains insufficient to raise per capita incomes Per
capita gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to contract by 0 1
percent in 2017
Public debt levels are rising in the region
Sub-Saharan Africa also has the lowest road and railroad densities
among developing regions, and road density declined during 1990–2011
By contrast, telecommunications infrastructure has improved
dramatically: the number of xed and mobile phone lines per 1,000
people increased from three in 1990 to 736 in 2014, and the number of
Internet users per 100 people increased from 1 3 in 2005 to 16 7 in
2015 Access to safe water has also risen, from 51 percent of the
population in 1990 to 77 percent in 2015
The growth bene ts of closing Sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure
quantity and quality gaps are potentially large Catching up to the
median of the rest of the developing world would increase growth in
GDP per capita by 1 7 percentage points per year, and closing the gap
relative to the best performers would lift this growth by 2 6
percentage points per year
Economic activity decelerated sharply in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 to
an estimated 1 3 percent growth, its worst outcome in more than two
decades This low growth rate was driven mainly by unfavorable external
developments, with commodity prices remaining low, and di cult
domestic conditions Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa experienced a
marked slowdown in economic activity A decline in oil production
halted economic growth in Angola In Nigeria, gross domestic product
(GDP) contracted by 1 5 percent amid tight liquidity conditions,
budget implementation delays, and militant attacks on oil pipelines
Growth in South Africa weakened to 0 3 percent, re ecting contractions
in the mining and manufacturing sectors and the e ects of the drought
on agriculture Excluding these three countries, growth in the region
was estimated to be 4 1 percent in 2016
In Angola, growth is projected to increase from 1 2 percent in 2017 to
1 5 percent in 2019, spurred by a modest increase in oil production In
Nigeria and Angola, recovery in the non-oil sector will be constrained
by foreign exchange restrictions and high in ation The subdued outlook
for Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa implies that per capita output
will decline in these countries over the forecast horizon
The latest data reveal that only seven countries are seeing growth
rates above 5 4 percent in 2015–17 The seven countries exhibiting
resilience are Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal,
and Tanzania ( gure 1 8) These countries house nearly 27 percent of
the region’s population and account for 13 percent of the region’s
Several countries that were resilient in our earlier analysis are less
so now: Benin, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique,
and Togo Mozambique’s growth trajectory has been derailed by the rapid
deterioration of the country’s debt position, which has eroded
investor con dence, sharply depreciated the currency, and prompted a
tightening of monetary and scal policy The deceleration in growth in
the Democratic Republic of Congo re ects declining mining production
and a fall in investment spending, combined with domestic political
uncertainty An additional seven countries, most of them
resource-abundant countries (the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mauritania,
and Zambia), have moved into the slipping or falling behind category
S.Africa could suffer further downgrades if political uncertainty stalls growth: S&P Reuters
There are risks that potential growth outcomes could be weakened,
especially with uncertainty that's been brought along in a year where
you may not get strong decisions for strong reform programs," said
Gardner Rusike, the associate director and lead analyst for South
Africa at S&P.
S&P downgraded South Africa's sovereign credit rating to BB+ with a
negative outlook from BBB- grade on April 3, saying the firing of its
internationally respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan posed a
major risk to fiscal policy.
The new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has said Treasury is committed
to fiscal consolidation plans outlined in the 2017 budget after S&P
and Fitch downgraded the country to sub-investment grade.
Rusike said political jostling ahead of the ruling African National
Congress's conference at year-end, where the party will elect leaders
to contest general elections in 2019, was likely to distract
government from implementing economic reforms.
"You are probably looking at a much longer time line when you are
talking about the path of economic growth that can help to stabilise
debt," Rusike said.
"We've had three downgrades over the last four or five years which
means that the credit story for South Africa has been deteriorating."
The country's net debt currently sits just below 50 percent of gross
domestic product, at around 2.2 trillion rand ($165 billion), and in
recent budgets the treasury has said the cost of servicing that debt
has been one of the fastest growing items.
Multinational brewers look to tap Africa's $13bn beer market FT Subscriber
As Nigeria plunged deeper into economic crisis last year, billboards
popped up across Lagos, its largest city, promoting Johnnie Walker
whisky along with a reassuring message: “Storms Never Last”.
The sentiment resonates as multinational drinks companies battle for
share in Africa’s biggest markets amid the worst economic slowdown on
the continent in more than two decades. And Diageo, owner of Johnnie
Walker and the world’s largest distiller, will hope that its tagline
rings true in Africa’s roughly $13bn beer market.
Analysts say that despite the downturn sparked by low commodities
prices, brewers are eager to push further into the region as
traditional markets slow.
Africa is the world’s fastest-growing beer market, with research group
Plato Logic forecasting volume growth of 4.5 per cent this year
compared with 1.4 per cent per cent globally.
The continent remains key in the long term because of its
fast-growing, urbanising and young population.
But with the African middle class expanding more slowly than
anticipated, analysts say that brewers that have focused on selling
cheaper brews are weathering the storm better than those which have
stuck to their premium brands.
Against this backdrop, Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer,
officially opened a €150m brewery in Ivory Coast this month.
It follows the soft launch in November of its Ivoire beer — crafted
for the local market, brewed with locally-grown rice and already
enjoying popularity among drinkers in the cosmopolitan commercial
capital of Abidjan.
“When you look at Ivory Coast’s very young population, its GDP growth
as the top performing country in Africa — all of the parameters for
success are in place there,” says Roland Pirmez, Heineken’s president
for Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe, whose division
contributed 15 per cent of the company’s revenues of €20.8bn in 2016.
Since the 2014 price crash that sent the economies of Nigeria and
other commodities-dependent African nations into freefall, foreign
brewers’ fortunes have diverged.
As incomes have become squeezed, many premium brands, such as Diageo’s
Guinness, have been pushed out of reach for tens of millions of
people, even in aspirational, brand-conscious Nigeria. As a result,
“low-cost beer is what people are drinking”, says Adedayo Ayeni, an
analyst at Renaissance Capital.
Trevor Stirling, analyst at Bernstein, agrees. He says that each
company’s fortunes are “very dependent on their country portfolio [of
products]” but the one constant amid the downturn, is that “you have
seen economy lager starting to boom”.
Mr Pirmez says that Heineken is responding by offering a range of
beers “to meet different consumer needs” at different prices, helping
organic revenues in Africa rise 3.5 per cent last year.
Olivier Nicolai, analyst at Morgan Stanley, says that Heineken has
been “quicker to react to the downturn” in Africa than some of its
competitors, adding: “Their thinking is that it’s better for consumer
to stay within their portfolio, then at some point upgrade again.”
This approach contrasts with that of Diageo’s Guinness Nigeria
business. It increased the price of its Harp lager to compensate for
currency volatility. “Volumes fell off the shelf” from nearly 1m
hectolitres a year before 2014 to less than 350,000 last year, says Mr
In a call with analysts last month, John O’Keefe, Diageo’s Africa
president, acknowledged that in Nigeria, where inflation is near 18
per cent and growth in the beer market has slowed, “affordability [is]
even more important to consumers” than previously.
Though Guinness Nigeria has reintroduced Satzenbrau, a value lager it
had brewed decades ago, it was as a premium brand. It “misjudged the
ability of consumers to cope [with the increase] and has paid the
price”, Mr Ayeni says.
The group recorded organic net sales growth of 17 per cent for spirits
in Africa last year, but organic net sales of beer declined 1 per
SABMiller, the brewer whose roots are in South Africa, was acquired by
Anheuser-Busch InBev last year for £79bn as it looked to buy a
foothold in Africa. SAB operates in 17 countries directly and another
21 through an association with French drinks group Castel.
It, too, has benefited from a focus on cheaper brews. “SAB has
continued to do relatively well because people are trading down,” says
According to Plato, though SAB’s volume sales fell 1.2 per cent last
year in South Africa, its biggest market, this was offset by a 4.7 per
cent rise in Nigeria and a near 12 per cent increase in Zambia.
Having launched in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, in 2009,
SAB had taken nearly 12 per cent of the market in 2015, compared with
nearly 20 per cent for Diageo and almost 68 per cent for Heineken.
Heineken was “very proactive” in 2012, says Mr Ayeni, when beer sales
began declining after fuel price rises. “It saw the change and really
moved in the direction of ‘value’.”
Since then, it has acquired two breweries in Nigeria that specialise
in the popular, less expensive brews Goldberg and 33 Export. In
Ethiopia, Heineken produces three beers in addition to its flagship
brand and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it brews value brands,
Primus and Turbo King.
But despite consumer demand for value, flagship premium brands are
what the brewers really want to sell.
Robyn Chalmers, a spokesman for AB InBev in Africa, says that its
local brands “resonate well” and will “continue to be a crucial part
of our portfolio”.
But she adds that the brewer’s global brands Corona, Stella Artois and
Budweiser, are a key driver of growth, saying: “As such, we have plans
for them to play a larger role in Africa, initially in South Africa,
in the near future.”
Heineken’s Mr Pirmez has similar aims as “the dream is to sell only
Heineken” but, he says, “you have to think about the consumer”.
Acacia Mining The export ban reduced cashflow by about $33 million for the quarter and affects sales from two of its three mines
Acacia Mining reported a 15 percent rise in its first-quarter gold
production on Thursday but said sales undershot due to a ban on gold
and copper exports by Tanzania.
The government halted the export of unprocessed ore on March 3,
following President John Magufuli's call for the construction of more
gold smelters in the country, Africa's fourth-largest gold producer.
Gold output for the quarter was 219,670 ounces but sales were lower by
34,926 ounces due to the ban, Acacia said in a statement.
However, Tanzania's biggest gold producer stuck to its full-year
production targets, as its mines continue to operate normally while
negotiations continue with the government.
The export ban reduced cashflow by about $33 million for the quarter
and affects sales from two of its three mines, the company said.
Acacia said in February it expects production this year to be between
850,000-900,000 ounces, up from about 830,000 ounces last year.
Kenyan Economy Expands at Fastest Pace in Five Years in 2016 @BBGAFRICA
Tourism grew 13.3 percent after contracting 1.3 percent in the
previous year, KNBS said. Construction climbed 9.2 percent from 13.9
percent in 2015.
Kenya is the world’s biggest black-tea exporter and agriculture, which
accounts for about 25 percent of GDP, rose 4 percent from a revised
5.5 percent a year earlier, curbed by a drought. Manufacturing and the
financial industries also expanded at a slower pace, 3.5 percent and
6.9 percent respectively. The two sectors grew at a revised 3.6
percent and 9.4 percent in 2015.
The country had forecast growth of 6 percent last year. The statistics
agency revised 2015’s expansion upward from 5.6 percent.
Overall credit growth slowed to 6.4 percent last year from 20.8
percent in the previous period, the agency said. The deceleration in
lending to businesses and individuals will constrain expansion of
sectors that are reliant on borrowing from commercial banks, it said.
Growth may have softened in the first quarter of 2017 after reduced
precipitation in the October-to-November rainy season, central bank
Governor Patrick Njoroge said on April 12.
“We are more worried about 2017, which is not looking very pretty,”
Faith Atiti, a senior economist at Nairobi-based Commercial Bank of
Africa, said by phone.
Kenya's economy grew 5.8 percent in 2016, misses forecast
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's economy grew 5.8 percent last year, just
above 5.7 percent growth the previous year but still short of
forecasts, the statistics office said on Wednesday.
A recovery in tourism, boosted the number but other sectors, such as
farming and the construction sector slowed down, the director general
of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Zachary Mwangi, said.
"The tourism sector had a remarkable recovery as it benefited from
improved security," he said at the launch of the annual economic
Visitor numbers rose to 1.34 million from 1.18 million the prior year,
with earnings rising 17.8 percent, Mwangi said.
The information, communication and technology sector also grew at a
faster pace, he said.
Kenya's economic growth forecast for 2016 was 5.9 percent.
World Bank warns of public debt risk @BD_Africa
A rapid build-up of public debt in the past four years has put the
Kenyan economy at the risk of turbulence, the World Bank warned on
Wednesday, adding its voice to rising concerns over the possible
impact of heavy borrowing on the country’s future.
World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, and the bank’s
Lead Economist, Punam Chuhan-Pole, said borrowing to finance
infrastructure projects should be balanced with the dire risks of over
“Any borrowing to support infrastructure projects should be done
judiciously,” said Ms Chuhan-Pole when the bank presented the latest
edition of Africa’s Pulse, a biannual analysis of the state of African
Kenya FY GDP 2016 clocked a +5.8% expansion in fact market the fastest
rate of GDP expansion since 2011.
The World Bank released their seminal Africa Pulse report with spoke
to the fact ''latest data reveal that only seven countries are seeing
growth rates above 5 4 percent in 2015–17''
“We are more worried about 2017, which is not looking very pretty,”
Faith Atiti, a senior economist at Nairobi-based Commercial Bank of
Africa, said by phone to Bloomberg.
That remark was probably referencing the sharp slow-down in credit expansion.
The Nairobi All Share ticked -0.03 of a point lower to close at 133.78.
The NSE20 rallied +0.624% to close at 3149.33 a 14 week closing high.
N.S.E Equities - Agricultural
Sasini Tea and Coffee rallied +7.69% to close at a 2017 high of 28.00.
Sasini Tea is +45.83% in 2017 and certainly the alpha stock at the NSE
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Safaricom eased back -0.26% to close at 19.15 and unchanged for the
Year. Safaricom traded 8.635m shares.
Kenya Airways firmed +0.81% to close at 6.25. Kenya Airways is +6.83%
in 2017 and the Chairman Michael Joseph's recent statements confirm
his intent with is bullish for the price.
Nation Media rallied +3.31% to close at 93.50 and was traded session
highs of 97.00. Nation Media released FY Earnings where FY Revenue
declines -8..223% to 11.3248b. Quartz Africa released a report which
specifically cited Kenya and I quote
''National governments remain the single largest source of revenue for
news organizations in Africa. In Rwanda, for example, a staggering
85-90% of advertising revenue comes from the public sector. In Kenya,
it’s estimated that 30% of newspaper revenue comes from government
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment
KCB Group rallied +2.26% to close at 34.00 and just below its 2017
high from 31st March. KCB was easily traded with 9.182m shares worth
312.229m changing hands. KCB is +18.26% in 2017 and thats without
accounting for the mouth-watering final dividend of 3 shillings a
share, that Shareholders are looking forward to.
Equity Bank announced that it had increased its shareholding in its DR
Congo business from 79% to 86% [and notwithstanding a sharp GDP
deceleration DR Congo is a wide-open opportunity for an Early Mover
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied
EABL closed unchanged at 240.00 and traded 253,500 shares.
International Sentiment towards African Brewery stocks as been
trending higher. EABL has rebounded +11.62% over the last 4 weeks
admittedly off a ''bombed out'' Level [as was the entire market].
BAT closed -0.24% at 848.00 on strong volume of 87,600 shares worth 74.369m