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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Tuesday 09th of February 2021
 
Morning
Africa




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I've already brought them back :-) @J_Bomb_3k
Misc.



‘The news channel reports on a massive outbreak of wilding in in the city's most prestigious commercial district.’

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08-FEB-2021 :: The Markets Are Wilding [continued]
World Of Finance



@elonmusk I am become meme, Destroyer of shorts


Mr. Musk can pump and dump just about anything with a tweet. he has superpowers.


And on February 4 He tested that hypothesis

No highs, no lows, only Doge @elonmusk Feb 4 


Dogecoin is the people’s crypto @elonmusk Feb 4




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Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom. VS NAIPAUL
World Of Finance


“The businessman bought at ten and was happy to get out at twelve; the mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty.”

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..and so then I says to the guy, "listen - you don't understand Radio..." @coloradotravis
World Of Finance


So here we are pirouetting atop the most expensive market in history.

The 'Buffett Indicator' has hit an All-Time High. Global stocks now worth equal to 122.4% of global GDP.

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The Markets Are Wilding
World Of Finance




 We are at peak vaccine euphoria

Global covid19 cases [are] falling at just under 2%/day @video4me


As al pacino said in scarface the world is yours

"[Manny] Oh, Well What's Coming To You, Tony? [Tony] The World, Chico, And Everything In It."



No one wants to think that

10. If you have a "normal" pandemic that is fading, but a "British variant" that is surging, the combined total can look like a flat, manageable situation. @spignal



They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

We've updated our preprint on the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01, aka B.1.1.7, with new statistical and modelling methods. 

Headline: we estimate VOC is 43–82% more transmissible than preexisting variants.




08-FEB-2021 ::  The Markets Are Wilding





Lets now turn back to the markets


The front end of the us interest rate curve is flirting with negative

The only game in town: @coloradotravis Feb 4



Negative rates are the only escape hatch

Here's my alchemy formula. You take real $ rates, -100bps and you multiply by total debt-to-GDP, 450pc, and you get a negative real cost of debt at the macro level of -4.5pc of GDP, a trillion bucks. @hendry_hugh


 Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2

Of course timing is everything but a robust pent up recovery is simply fantasy thinking something the imf has been indulging in of late

 The U.S. economy has recovered around 12.5 million jobs since April ... but is still around 10 million jobs down from pre- pandemic level from last February. @ReutersJamie



There is no V shaped recovery coming in 2021. Thats just a Fantasy. The Spinning Top


 Oil has posted its Best YTD performance in 30 years. @TaviCosta



However this is less a story around increasing demand but one of better supply discipline and management.

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Markets Are Wilding
World Of Finance



Gold took a hit



The gold story is very similar to the #Thesilversqueeze a lot of commentators I follow have been very snooty about the merry band of redditeers but the fact of the matter is very simple. 

 The paper markets trade a multiple of the physical market and the paper ‘’tail’’ has been wagging the precious metals ‘’dog’’ the redditeers can see this. 

If you squeeze the physical markets then you reprice the paper market and exponentially and asymmetrically to the upside. I expect that to happen this year.

Keep an eye on gold deliveries



The price impulse will be emitted from the gold deliveries situation.

Keep and eye on silver deliveries and etfs



I stand by my forecast

04-JAN-2021 :: What Will Happen In 2021


My Top Trades are Gold and Silver. I expect Gold to top $2,500 this year and Silver to reach $50.00

These are wilding markets. Stay safe.


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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock BY T. S. ELIOT
Misc.



S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse

A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,

Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.

Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo

Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,

Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question ...

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.

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Another simulation. R (#COVID ) = 0.98 and R (#VARIANTS ) = 1.55 @oli3be
Misc.



 R (Total =#COVID +#VARIANTS) ( blue column) therefore increases the total number of cases will increase even FASTER THAN AN EXPONENTIAL CURVE!




"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Professor Allen Bartlett



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In China, an App Offered Space for Debate. Then the Censors Came. @nytimes
Law & Politics



One by one, the chatroom participants took the digital microphone as thousands quietly listened in.

A Chinese man said he did not know whether to believe the widespread reports of concentration camps for Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang. 

Then a Uighur woman spoke up, calmly explaining that she was certain of the camps’ existence because her relatives had been among those interned. 

A man from Taiwan chimed in to urge understanding on all sides, while another from Hong Kong praised the woman for her courage in coming forward.

It was a rare moment of cross-border dialogue with people on the mainland of China, who are usually separated from the rest of the online world by the Great Firewall. 

For a short time, they found an open forum on the social media app, Clubhouse, to discuss contentious topics, free from the usual constraints of the country’s tightly controlled internet.

By Monday evening, the inevitable happened: The Chinese censors moved in. Many mainland users reported receiving error messages when they tried to use the platform. Some said they could only access the app by tunneling through the digital border using a VPN, or virtual private network. 

Within hours, more than a thousand users had tuned in to hear a discussion about the ban in a chatroom titled “Walled off, so now what?” 

Searches for “Clubhouse” on the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo were blocked.

To many users in mainland China, it was a brief window into an unfettered social media. 

Under China’s leader, Xi Jinping, the government has been ramping up its efforts to assert near-total digital control over what its citizens read and say online. 

Government-paid commenters and nationalist trolls frequently flood Chinese social media with propaganda and vitriolic messages that make it difficult to have open, public discussions about topics deemed sensitive by the government.


Seemingly every topic on China’s censorship blacklist had been discussed. 

In one chatroom, participants debated which Chinese leaders were responsible for the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989

In another, users shared experiences of their encounters with the Chinese police and security officials.

In a third, participants sat in silence as they mourned the first anniversary of the passing of Li Wenliang, the doctor who was reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. 

He died of the same illness, and his death prompted the hashtag “freedom of speech” to spread widely on Chinese social media.


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Also 和谐 hexie over the eyes means "harmony" (from former Pres Hu catchphrase). In China if you've been censored you've been "harmonised".
Law & Politics



That‘s right, we, We the People, for [as I have previously said] how can we let ourselves ―survive no better than swine; fawn upon the power-holders like curs; and live in vile filth like maggots?

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.2079

Dollar Index 90.724

Japan Yen 104.77

Swiss Franc 0.8957

Pound 1.3783

Aussie 0.7720

India Rupee 72.893

South Korea Won 1116.545

Brazil Real 5.366

Egypt Pound 15.625

South Africa Rand 14.841

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Ultra-fast Fashion Is Eating the World @TheAtlantic
Misc.




Last february, on a sunny afternoon in West Hollywood, two girls with precise eye makeup paused on Melrose Avenue and peered in the windows of a building whose interior was painted a bright, happy pink. 

Two pink, winged unicorns flanked racks of clothes: ribbed crop tops, snakeskin-print pants, white sleeveless bodysuits. One of the girls tugged on the door, then frowned. It was locked, which was weird. 

She tugged again. Inside, a broad-chested security guard regarded them impassively from behind a pink security desk.

Erin Cullison, the U.S. public-relations rep for PrettyLittleThing, a fast-fashion brand founded in 2012, watched the girls give up and walk away. She sighed. 

Although the West Hollywood showroom closely resembles a store, it is not, in fact, a store. It is not open to the public; the clothes on the racks don’t have price tags. “People try to give us cash, but we’re not even set up to take money,” Cullison told me. 

Instead, the clientele is made up of the brand’s influencer partners—thousands of them—who can make an appointment to visit the showroom every couple of weeks and “get gifted.” 

They try on the latest styles and take advantage of various “photo moments”: lounging on the plush pink couch, posing on the pink staircase, peeking out of the London phone booth repainted—yes—pink. 

They can snack on a pink-frosted cupcake, and (provided they’re 21 or older) drink a glass of rosé at the store’s pink bar, before heading home with several items of free clothing.


PrettyLittleThing is part of the Boohoo Group, a company that has become a dominant force in retail fashion over the past decade; along with several other aggressive and like-minded companies, it is quickly reshaping the industry. 

Boohoo stock is now publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: BOO), but it started as a family business. 

As the legend goes, the family patriarch, Abdullah Kamani, immigrated to the U.K. from Kenya in the 1960s and began selling handbags from a street stand. 

Eventually, he opened a textile factory that supplied the retailers that, starting in the 1990s, shook the fashion world with their cheap clothes and high merchandise turnover: H&M, Topshop, and the Irish fast-fashion juggernaut Primark.

Abdullah’s business was successful enough that he bought himself a Rolls-Royce; his son Mahmud saw the potential for even greater profits. 

In 2006, Mahmud and his business partner, Carol Kane, began selling cheap clothes directly to consumers through Boohoo.com. 

Without the burden of retail stores, the company’s costs were relatively low, except when it came to marketing. 

Young girls who went on YouTube (and, later, Instagram) were inundated with microtargeted ads for Boohoo bodysuits and minidresses. 

Boohoo’s founders understood that social media could be leveraged to make new brands quickly seem ubiquitous to their target audience. 

“If you have that imagery out there you are perceived as a much larger business than you actually are,” Kane told the trade publication Drapers.



Brands flooded our feeds with their wares, whether through their own channels or, more surreptitiously, by enlisting influencers to make an item seem irresistible, or at least unavoidable.


Boohoo’s founders understood that the company had to hustle to keep customers’ attention—to “be fresh all the time,” as Kane has put it. 

“A traditional retailer might buy three or four styles, but we’ll buy 25,” Kane told The Guardian in 2014. 

Not having to keep hundreds of stores stocked meant Boohoo could be flexible about inventory management. 

In 2018, H&M was sitting on $4.3 billion worth of unsold items. Boohoo, by contrast, could order as few as 300 or 500 units of a given style—just enough to see whether it would catch on. 

Only about a quarter of the initial styles were reordered, according to Kane.


Over time, Boohoo accumulated rich data about online consumer behavior, and further tailored the shopping experience to its shoppers’ tastes. 

“They know that first-time customers like to see this product category, or customers from this geographic area like this color palette,” Matt Katz, a managing partner at the consulting firm SSA & Company, told me.

In normal times, Boohoo’s agility and ingenuity offered crucial advantages over the competition. When the pandemic hit, those advantages became decisive.



In 2015, when Tricia Panlaqui was 12, she pretended she was 13 so she could start an Instagram account, where she posted videos of herself doing the kinds of things that 12-year-olds do: cartwheeling, blowing kisses at the camera, putting on makeup. 

By her 15th birthday, she had moved on to what she felt was a more grown-up medium—YouTube—and focused her content on fashion. 

When she posted haul videos, a YouTube genre that’s a combination of an unboxing and a bedroom fashion show, her viewership skyrocketed. Brands began reaching out, offering her sponsorship deals.

In Tricia’s earliest videos, her outfits had mostly come from familiar mall stores: a white sweater from Express, distressed denim cutoffs from American Eagle. 

But once she hit 10,000 followers, her channel began to feature clothes from a different set of brands, ones that were typically online-only and based in China. 

There was Shein, which sells $10 bathing suits, and Zaful, where the prices were even lower. 

These companies had cropped up alongside lesser-known brands whose names tend to be two words awkwardly jammed together: DressLily, NastyDress, TwinkleDeals, TrendsGal, FairySeason. 

You wouldn’t find their goods at the mall or see them advertised on TV, but if you were a young woman between the ages of 12 and 22 on social media, their targeted ads were inescapable.


Once Tricia surpassed 100,000 followers—a key metric for YouTube influencers—she began getting offers from better-known fast-fashion brands, including Boohoo, as well as other companies that were following its digital-first model, such as Princess Polly and Fashion Nova.


In April, U.S. clothing sales plummeted by 79 percent from March; McKinsey predicted that global fashion-industry revenues would contract by 30 percent in 2020. 

Brands like Primark were saddled with what one industry observer called an “inventory crisis”—billions of dollars of merchandise intended for now-closed shops.

With less inventory and no brick-and-mortar stores, Boohoo and its competitors had no such drag on their operations. 

Quick to pivot, the brands sent Tricia sweatpants and hoodies and suggested themes for her videos: Corona style! Lounging at home! Even with the economy in free fall, demand for cheap, cute clothes persisted.


In times of crisis, consumers don’t stop shopping—they just limit their purchases to affordable pleasures. 

Fast fashion had expanded its market share during the 2008 global financial crisis; now this new cohort of companies—known as ultra-fast fashion—was poised to do the same. 

While the rest of the retail sector struggled and legacy companies such as J.Crew and Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy, many of Tricia’s sponsors and their rivals thrived. 

Asos’s sales rose rapidly from March to June. Boohoo had its best quarter ever. “We’ve seen an incredible sprint to digital,” Matt Katz told me. “What would’ve taken seven years has taken seven months—or seven weeks.”


While high-end fashion companies were still releasing fall and spring collections, Forever 21’s rival Zara offered fresh styles twice a week. 

The company, which prefers to distance itself from the “fast fashion” label, says it was just trying to respond to customers’ desires. 

But stocking inexpensive, ever-changing options also stimulated our desire to buy more. 

If you found a look you liked at Zara, you had to snap it up right away, or else suffer from fashion FOMO. One study found that, whereas the average shopper visited any given store about four times a year, Zara shoppers stopped in once every three weeks.


Worldwide, clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2015, while prices dropped: We were spending the same amount on clothes, but getting nearly twice as many items for it. At its peak, in 2015, Forever 21 made $4.4 billion in global sales.

Trends used to take a year to pass from the runway to the mainstream; now the fashion cycle has become so compressed that it takes just a few weeks, or even less. 

Americans buy a piece of clothing every five days, on average, and we pay so little for our garments that we’ve come to think of them as disposable. 

According to a McKinsey study, for every five new garments produced each year, three garments are disposed of.

Like many retail brands, Forever 21 was hit hard by the shift to online shopping. While other companies invested in their e-commerce platforms, Forever 21 doubled down on brick-and-mortar retail, signing leases in malls that were steadily losing foot traffic. 

When shoppers did visit stores, they found a retailer that was out of touch with the times. In 2015, two-thirds of teenage girls in the U.S. identified as “special size”—plus, petite, tall—but mall shops were slow to respond to this reality. 

Two decades ago, Zara was revolutionary for offering hundreds of new items a week; nowadays, Asos adds as many as 7,000 new styles to its website over the same period. 

Fast-fashion companies used to brag about getting a new style up for sale in as little as two weeks. Boohoo can do it in a matter of days.


Boohoo’s profits doubled in 2017. They doubled again in 2018. Meanwhile, the third generation of the Kamani family was making inroads in the fashion business. 

Umar, Mahmud’s son, had founded PrettyLittleThing when he was 24. Now he was turning it into Boohoo’s splashier little sister. 

The clothes were bolder (more body-con dresses, more crop tops, more metallics) and the branding was emphatically pinker.

PrettyLittleThing’s branding reflects Umar’s flashy persona. On Instagram, where he has 1 million followers, he’s posted photos of himself posing with Drake, sunbathing in the Maldives, and Jet Skiing behind a yacht. 

He hosted J.Lo’s 50th birthday party at Gloria Estefan’s house, and claims to FaceTime with will.i.am nearly every day.


In 2017, data from the social-media-analytics company Hitwise showed that PLT was the most popular emerging fast-fashion brand, with a 663 percent rise in traffic to its online store since 2014. 

From 2016 to 2019, the company’s annual sales went from about $23 million to nearly $510 million.

In 2014, Dolls Kill attracted $5 million in an initial round of funding led by Maveron, the venture-capital firm co-founded by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; five years later, the company raised another $40 million in a second round. 

That round was headed by Sequoia, which thinks Dolls Kill has the potential to be a “generation defining” brand, Sun told me. Rebellion against the mass market had mass-market appeal, she believed. “The age of conformity is over,” she said. 

“Anytime I wear anything from them, people are like, where did you get that?”

The ultra-fast-fashion brands have designed a shopping experience that makes the consumer feel as if the clothes magically appear out of nowhere, with easy purchasing and near-immediate delivery. 

The frictionless transactions contribute to the sense that the products themselves are ephemeral—easy come, easy go.

Producing clothing at this scale and speed requires expending enormous amounts of natural resources. 

Cotton is a thirsty crop; according to Tatiana Schlossberg, the author of Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have (2019), producing a pound of it can require 100 times more water than producing a pound of tomatoes. 

But synthetic textiles have their own problems, environmentally speaking. They’re a major source of the microplastics that clog our waterways and make their way into our seafood. 

McKinsey has estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions; the United Nations says it accounts for 20 percent of global wastewater.

Meanwhile, the volume of clothes Americans throw away has doubled over the past 20 years. We each generate about 75 pounds of textile waste a year, an increase of more than 750 percent since 1960. 

Some thrift shops, glutted with flimsy, synthetic wares, have stopped accepting fast-fashion donations. Discarded clothes get shipped overseas. 

Last year, a mountain of cast-off clothing outside the Ghanaian capital city of Accra generated so much methane that it exploded; months later, it was still smoldering.


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The #Emiratis evacuating their #Assab airbase in #Eritrea. @JMJalel_H
Africa



Officially it could help promote the notion that the #UAE is no longer involved in #Yemen in the eyes of the #Biden admin.

In practice, it would be useful for the #UAE to look like it is distancing itself from #Tigray.


an unwinnable War 



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CoViD19-ΛFЯICΛ: OpenData Confirmed: 3 669 322 (+ 12529) Actives: 377 795 (-17136) @NCoVAfrica
Africa





Confirmed: 3 669 322 (+ 12529)

Actives: 377 795 (-17136)

Deaths: 95 105 (+ 364)

Recoveries: 3 193 944 (+ 29301)




Conclusions




Active Cases 27.347% below Record high Print of 520,000 in January 



active #Covid19 cases record 520,000 was in January 2021 @NKCAfrica



According to @NCoVAfrica [1st wave] Peak Daily Infections was 24th July 2020 and 20,873



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8 Feb '21: #COVID19 in #SouthAfrica • Cases (7-day avg) = 3 029 Active cases = 67 091 @rid1tweets
Africa




• Cases (7-day avg) = 3 029

• Incidence rate = 5.2

• Tests (7-day avg) = 30 094

• Daily test positivity = 8.8% 

• Deaths (7-day avg) = 296




Conclusions



Big Exponential Slide in South Africa Case Load 

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South Africa's Eastern Cape one of the very worst Covid fatality outcomes this year for anywhere on earth, adjusted for age. Median age in the province is 24. Excess deaths now running at 0.46% of the population @Birdyword
Africa



South Africa's Eastern Cape must have one of the very worst Covid fatality outcomes this year for anywhere on earth, adjusted for age. Median age in the province is 24. Excess deaths now running at 0.46% of the population (not of people who've had Covid, the whole population)




They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.




In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.


A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.

But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions




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The first known emergence of Ebola Zaire—the hottest subtype of Ebola virus— happened in September, 1976, when the virus erupted simultaneously in fifty-five villages near the Ebola River.
Africa



Ebola Zaire is a slate-wiper in humans. It killed eighty- eight per cent of the people it infected. Apart from rabies and the human immunodeficiency virus, H.I.V., which causes aids, this was the highest rate of mortality that has been recorded for a human virus. 

Ebola was spread mainly among family members, through contact with bodily fluids and blood. Many of the people in Africa who came down with Ebola had handled Ebola-infected cadavers. It seems that one of Ebola’s paths wends to the living from the dead.

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ZIMBABWE Tagwirei's hold on gold @Africa_Conf
Africa



After buying more mines and banks, the mogul could become the country's top gold buyer

Business kingpin Kudakwashe Tagwirei, under United States sanctions since August, aims to expand his commanding stake in Zimbabwe's gold industry – and could end up taking control of the country's sole gold refinery and marketer, Africa Confidential understands

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya are working on a plan to break up Fidelity Printers and Refiners, the arm of the central bank that is officially the ultimate buyer of all Zimbabwe's gold.

Fidelity has been much criticised for delaying US dollar payments to licensed gold exporters. As the illegal gold trade, sponsored by politically backed gangs, spirals out of control, the state-owned company has been losing out, depriving the government of hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue.

Gold smuggling is booming in Zimbabwe with consignments worth over US$1.5 billion last year shipped, often hand-carried by politically connected people, to Dubai and India, according to International Crisis Group and other research organisations

But official gold exports through Fidelity fell by almost a quarter to some $800 million last year, according to Reserve Bank figures.

US sanctions have had little effect on Tagwirei's commercial ambitions and his influence on the government, which has lost some of its leading members such as Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo to the coronavirus.

The US Treasury says that Tagwirei – known as 'Queen Bee' because of the political and financial power he wields – has used his relationship with Mnangagwa 'to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of U.S. dollars'

Last year, an audio recording was leaked in which Tagwirei said he was behind the sacking of the country's Energy Minister Fortune Chasi, having warned him not to 'ask too many questions about contracts for fuel supplies' (AC Vol 61 No 17, Inside the state capture project).

Tagwirei has long had a commanding position in Zimbabwe's $100m-a-month fuel import market, and owns major stakes in banking, telecoms and the country's largest platinum mines. 

But it is unclear how much he controls in his own right and to what extent is holding stakes on behalf of top political and military figures.

Should Tagwirei gain control of Fidelity Printers and Refiners, he would become the leading force in the country's main foreign exchange earner, the gold industry.

Fidelity's gold purchases amounted to $700m in the first ten months of last year, and its refinery has an annual capacity of 50 tonnes.

Fidelity has agents buying on its behalf from artisanal and small-scale miners around the country.

The Reserve Bank is planning to unbundle Fidelity into two business entities – a gold refining unit and a printing and coin minting business

Although it will retain the printing business, the central bank announced that it will offer a 60% stake in the gold refinery and marketing arm to large-scale gold producers, major gold buying agents and small-scale producers through their associations. 

A three-year average delivery of gold to Fidelity will be used by the RBZ to determine its offer to the various players.

The Reserve Bank has not explained the period over which the three-year average would be worked out, but a mining industry source said this would be calibrated to ensure Tagwirei scoops a sizeable interest in Fidelity. 

The source said Tagwirei and associates in his company Sotic International have been pushing for a model similar to South Africa's Rand Refinery, which is owned by major gold mining companies. 

They were the proponents of the unbundling exercise, the source said, and have been using their influence on the state and its institutions to get a grip on the plant. 

Tagwirei has been on a buying spree of mining assets in the country, using Sotic or its wholly owned subsidiary Landela Mining Ventures. 

This included Sotic's 2019 purchase of a 74.73% stake in Bindura Nickel Corporation from Asa Resources, and Landela's acquisition of one of Zimbabwe's biggest gold mines, Freda Rebecca.   

Freda Rebecca was licensed as a gold buyer by Fidelity in June last year. The mining firm has stitched up a lucrative gold-buying funding arrangement with the largest commercial bank in the country, CBZ Holdings, reported to be 30%-owned by a Tagwirei company (AC Vol 60 No 18, Cash at the generals' command). 

Freda Rebecca aims to buy a tonne of gold every month for the next three years under the arrangement – equivalent to over 60% of the 19 tonnes that Zimbabwe officially purchased last year. 

Landela also bought Shamva gold mine, with capacity to produce 21,000 ounces (0.6 tonnes) a year, from Mzi Khumalo's Metallon last year. 

Khumalo's operations in Zimbabwe were hobbled by a politically charged dispute with the government, allowing Landela to step in at an advantageous price.

Landela is targeting six more mines, including four that had been mothballed by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, with a capacity to produce at least 85,000 ounces (2.4 tonnes) a year, according to Sotic CEO David Brown, who is also Landela's CEO and former chief executive of South African mining company Impala Platinum.

Two of the mines, Metallon-owned Mazowe and Redwing, are 'as good as in the bag', according to two sources familiar with discussions. 

Metallon was forced to put most of its mines under care and maintenance after failing to get 'proper compensation' from Fidelity for its gold production. 

Between 2016 and 2019, the company lost $82m, and sued for a $132m claim for lack of profit during the period.

Considering that Landela also assumed Metallon's liability in the acquisition of its mines, an industry source speculated that the claim on Fidelity could also be transferred to the new mine owners, who may leverage that for a higher stake in the gold refinery.

It was Sotic again that was handed the military's stake in a $4 billion platinum joint venture with Russian investors. 

Mining executives said the deal was 'unimaginable', and suspect that Sotic may simply have acted as a cover for the army, whose involvement was scaring investors away. 

The military, through Zimbabwe Defence Industries, under US sanctions, and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), together held 30% of the joint venture, known as Great Dyke Investments, also headed by Brown (AC Vol 61 No 19, Heavy Russian metal). 

In December, Mnangagwa disclosed that a new, hitherto unknown entity, Kuvimba Mining House, had become the new owner of Sotic and Landela's gold and platinum assets. It is once again Brown who is in charge of Kuvimba. 

The government is a 65% shareholder in the new entity, with the remaining 35% belonging to another mysterious company Quorus, registered in Mauritius, where information on ownership is kept secret. 'Tagwirei is not part of that vehicle

The speculation is unfortunate,' said Brown. Brown and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube have not explained how privately held assets, bought using offshore capital, suddenly belonged to the state.

There is no explanation for the latest move, mining sector executives say, other than that the government is now trying to distance Tagwirei from the investments because of the US sanctions.

FUEL, MINES AND BANKS – THE TAGWIREI METHOD

Kudakwashe Tagwirei has built up his wealth in large part through a long-standing partnership with major commodities trader Trafigura, which has been trying to distance its operations from him as he faces international commercial and political sanctions. 

Yet Tagwirei retains his sway in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government, as it is rocked by the coronavirus pandemic (AC Vol 61 No 5, Oil, guns and politics).

Zimbabwe, currently a pariah on international money markets, has been unable to secure funding from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank due to arrears to the latter two. 

Mnangagwa's plans to repay these debts and re-establish relations with international lenders have floundered, leaving Zimbabwe to rely largely on other lenders, mainly Afreximbank, owned by member states of the AfDB (AC Vol 61 No 25, The state’s parallel economy).

Tagwirei has been an opaque source of funds to Zanu-PF politicians and projects, including the Command Agriculture programme, which has consumed some US$2 billion of state resources without credible accounting.

In 2019, Tagwirei was reported, via an entity under his direct control, to have purchased a 30% stake in CBZ Holdings, the country's biggest lender. 

Officials at  the bank, conscious of the implications of such a stake for its US dollar business, insist that Tagwirei has no managerial or policy role in the bank nor have they linked any of the bank's shareholders to entities controlled by him.
Despite the country's macro-economic crisis, CBZ's financial position has strengthened in recent months. 

Bloomberg News reports that CBZ was in talks with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to buy several smaller lenders in a consolidation drive to create fewer, stronger institutions.

Late last year, a company linked to Tagwirei was reported to have acquired a 37.79% stake in banking group ZB Financial Holdings, from compulsory pension fund the National Social Security Authority. 

The shares are now held through Datvest, a unit of CBZ. Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is Chair of parliament's Public Accounts Committee, described it as 'a bank heist'. '

Now [the] target is First Mutual Holdings,' he said, referring to reports that Tagwirei plans to acquire another listed financial services group. 

The move on ZB Financial Holdings is also strategic in the scheme to acquire the refinery: ZB Bank is possibly the largest gold buying agent for Fidelity in the country. 

Tagwirei's steady embrace of banking stakes and his moves on Zimbabwe's gold industry look closely connected.


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An aerial view shows a giant land-art fresco by French artist Saype, painted for "Beyond Walls" project in Philippi township, Cape Town, South Africa. Valentin Flauraud for Saype
Africa


An aerial view shows a giant land-art fresco by French artist Saype, painted for the 9th step of his worldwide "Beyond Walls" project in Philippi township, Cape Town, South Africa. Valentin Flauraud for Saype

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Nigeria Disagrees With Advice to Devalue Naira, @IMFNews Says @markets @alonsosotoj
Africa



Nigeria’s government disagrees with the International Monetary Fund’s recommendations that it further marks down its currency that’s more than 18% overvalued to ease external imbalances, the Washington-based lender said.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration sees currency pressures stemming from global outflows caused by the coronavirus pandemic and believes another depreciation would add to double-digit inflation, according to the IMF’s Article IV report for the country that was published Monday.

The disagreement underscores the policy challenges for the administration that has resisted growing calls from some businesses and state governors hurt by an artificially overvalued currency to liberalize the exchange rate. 

It also conflicts with market expectations for further devaluations after the central bank cut the value of the naira by nearly a quarter last year when oil prices collapsed during the pandemic.

Authorities should immediately get rid of the premium paid on the parallel currency market and clear a dollar backlog that has hurt policy credibility, the IMF said. 

It also called for the unification of the various exchange rates and the removal of restrictions on access to hard currency for some imports.

The IMF’s recommendation is gradual but clear and multi-step exchange-rate reforms, “so that everybody knows where Nigeria’s going, which is often more important than what you do in terms of devaluation,” Jesmin Rahman, the lender’s mission chief to Nigeria, said in an interview before the release of the report.

Inflation in Nigeria reached a three-year high of 15.8% in December and while a 10% currency devaluation could push the rate up by as much as 2.5 percentage points, the impact would be less if the parallel exchange-market rate is already reflected in the prices of imported goods, the IMF said.

The central bank’s financing of the budget deficit must be phased to reduce inflation and higher interest rates may also be needed, the lender said. 

The central bank held its key rate for a second straight meeting in January.

The IMF warned that slow economic growth coupled with high inflation could continue to fan social discontent, which spilled over last year with protests against a police unit accused of torture and assassinations.

A slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations in Africa’s most-populous nation could threaten the IMF’s projections for economic growth of 1.5% this year, from an estimated 3.2% contraction in 2020.

“Nigeria has a way to go before ensuring adequate vaccine doses for its population, which will be critical to economic recovery,” said Rahman. 

The IMF expects the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels only next year.

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Already Federal Govt Interest to Rev ratio is 92.6% —if not Structural & Tax Adjustment - what’s the alternative beside blaming IMF? @drmwarsame
Africa

Non-oil Rev/GDP is ~lowest globally at 3.9%. Fiscal Balance is -5.9% of GDP (Debt accumulation guaranteed) since expenditures are at 11.8% of GDP. Already Federal Govt Interest to Rev ratio is 92.6% —if not Structural & Tax Adjustment - what’s the alternative beside blaming IMF?

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Cash buried at Hatuikulipi partner's farm @TheNamibian
Africa



WORKERS at a farm owned by businessman David 'Dawie' Moller reaped an unusual harvest towards the end of last year.

They chanced on a stash of cash buried on Moller's farm in the Gobabis area. 

Moller is a business partner of former Investec Asset Management Namibia (now known as Ninety One) chief James Hatuikulipi. 

Around November, the workers noticed two thick pieces of rope sticking out of the ground.

Curious, they started pulling at the ropes and found it was attached to a suitcase filled with cash.

It was not only farmworkers who allegedly feasted on the money. Sources claim a police officer took some of the money after the matter was reported to the law-enforcement agency.

Moller's farm is at Leonardville, a small village south of Gobabis, in the Omaheke region. 

It is adjacent to a multimillion-dollar farm belonging to Hatuikulipi and former minister of justice Sacky Shanghala.

News about the buried money comes at a time when there is speculation that some of the Fishrot accused withdrew millions of dollars from banks before they were arrested in November 2019.

The money was then allegedly passed on to several confidants who are now paying the accused's bills while they are behind bars awaiting trial. 

The Namibian understands that some of the Fishrot accused allegedly buried N$9 million at a farm in a 25-kg bag.

It's not clear if this is related to the incident at Moller's farm, but the police said they found two holes, one in which money was hidden, and another which was empty.

Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed to The Namibian on Wednesday last week that an undisclosed amount of cash was found buried on Moller's farm.

Moller is the managing director of D&M Rail Construction, a company co-owned by Hatuikulipi and businessman John Walenga, among others.

“Yes, there is a case like that. I can confirm that it happened at Gobabis, but I do not have enough information now. The Gobabis commissioner will assist you on this,” Ndeitunga said.

Gobabis police station deputy commissioner Chris Kalimbula last Thursday said the money was found buried in a suitcase attached to two lengths of rope.

“Yes the money was found buried on Moller's farm. The station commander of Leornardville informed me about the matter after he was informed that there are many people standing around one spot,” he said.

Kalimbula said they had sent a senior detective to the scene to conduct interviews on the matter. 

“The first investigation then attracted further investigations, and more allegations were tied to the farm owner. It has now been combined with the Anti-Corruption Commission and Nampol's anti-money-laundering division,” he said.

INVESTIGATION ONGOING

Chief inspector Andres Guim said the case is still under investigation.

He said after discovering the money farmworkers took the cash and started spending it around the location. 

“Before we arrived on site to discover what was left, they went to hide their share in the bushes before going around the area to spend it on themselves. They gave some undisclosed amounts to the foreman,” Guim said.

“It is suspected that the farmworkers found money buried in two different holes ... but when we got to the scene, one hole was empty. We did not find anything there,” he said.

He added that Moller said it was his money. 

Guim, who is leading the investigation, said: “Our investigation has so far found that some farmworkers gave lump sums of money to their families and friends.

“One gentleman in particular assisted his mother with N$50 000 for a family funeral. What was discovered by us is only N$28 600.”

According to him, unusual spending by the farmworkers was reported to the police by a member of the public. 

“Workers were buying alcohol and items costing thousands and thousands [of dollars]. People around the area started talking, and the workers told them they had to hide their share in the bushes,” Guim said.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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February 2021
 
 
 
 
 
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