Economic growth slowed down to 3.7% in 2015 primarily due to the negative effects of prolonged load-shedding in the second half of the year as well as a significant decline in the currency.
August Inflation Quickens to 7.3% as Trade Deficit Contracts
August inflation ticked up to 7.3% from 7.1% the previous month. The upward move was led by an increase in the prices of non-food items such as fuel and transport fares and fees. The Government raised the pump price of fuel by an average of 13% in July whereas road user fees (road tax, license renewals etc.) were also raised by 50%.
The trade balance came in at a deficit of K958 million in July, down 20% from the previous month. This was the first contraction in the trade deficit this year.
Atlas Mara in talks to buy Finance Bank Zambia
Atlas Mara Ltd., the company co-founded by Bob Diamond to invest in African financial businesses, is in talks to buy Finance Bank Zambia Plc, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Negotiations began as early as March, two of the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorized to comment on the talks. (Read more)
Zambia set to tap international bond market to fund projected K10 bn budget gap
Zambia’s plan to plug a gaping budget deficit by more than doubling foreign bond issuance is sending dollar-borrowing costs to 14-month highs.It could get worse, according to Oliver Saasa, a consultant who was briefed about the plan to raise as much as $2 billion in Eurobonds by a Finance Ministry official. The southern African nation may have to pay as much as 10 percent for the new debt, about 2 percentage points higher than yields on existing securities, he said. (Read more)
ZESCO to cut as much as 600 MW of power as a consequence of low water levels at dams
Zambia will probably cut power generation by more than a quarter as poor rainfall causes dam levels to drop in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, Mines, Energy and Water Development Deputy Minister Charles Zulu said. The country may reduce power supply by as much as 600 megawatts from about 2,200 megawatts, he said Tuesday by phone. (Read more)
Zambia Sugar Plc (LUSE: ZSUG) reported a 14% year-on-year increase in net profit to K146 million in financial year (FY) 2014. Earnings per Share (EPS) came in at K0.45 (K0.39 in 2013):
The IMF completed their latest Article 4 consultation meetings with senior government officials which highlight fiscal and external pressures that the economy is facing. You can read the full statement here. Below is a chart of the key takeaways:
Central Bank Governor Denny Kalyalya gives first media briefing
My comments this morning will focus on issues of economic growth, monetary policy, fiscal policy and how this relates to monetary policy, the external sector environment and the performance of the financial sector. We will be having press briefings after our quarterly monetary policy meetings, the next of which is in May. We are in this regard working on revamping our communications strategy to ensure that we have a more structured and regular way of communicating better with the public, principally through yourselves. (Read more)
British American Tobacco Zambia (LUSE: BATZ) reported a 28% year-on-year decrease in net profit to K47 million in financial year (FY) 2014. Earnings Per Share (EPS) was down to K0.22 (K0.31 in 2013):
VAT rule 18 amended
Effective February 23 2014, VAT ‘rule 18’ is set to be amended to include import documents from a transit country as sufficient proof of export as well as scrapping the provision requiring export proceeds to be deposited in Zambian accounts (proof of payment by an intermediary should suffice). For transactions prior to February 23, exporters will be required to fulfil the old rules. [KPMG Zambia release on 20.02.2015]
Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *