Zimbabwe's contribution to African FDI less than 1 percent


Published on

A digital copy of the Business News 24 (18 June edition). Zimbabwe's premier business news free sheet published by the Zimpapers Newspapers Group (1980) Limited and available every week day from 1530hrs to give a summary of the day's business news.

Published in: Business, Travel
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Zimbabwe's contribution to African FDI less than 1 percent

  1. 1. News Update as @ 1530 hours, Thursday 19 June 2014 Feedback: bh24admin@zimpapers.co.zwEmail: bh24feedback@zimpapers.co.zw By Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Government today signed an Air Ser- vices agreement with India, a develop- ment which will promote the national airliner and improve the country’s tourist arrivals and the sector's gross domestic product (GDP) contribution. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Transport and Infrastructural develop- ment Minister Obert Mpofu said the agreement would go a long way in improving relations between the two countries. “Today’s signing ceremony marks yet another milestone as we regularise the operation of air transport services between the two countries,” he said. The agreement has been in discussion since the two countries signed a mem- orandum of understanding in 2010. Minister Mpofu said terms of the agree- ment stipulate that the designated air- lines of the two countries can operate seven passenger or combined services per week in each direction while being allowed to operate any number of all- cargo services. The airlines can also code-share. This could be a major boost for Air Zimbabwe which is poised to resume international flights after being readmitted to the International Air Transport Association International (IATA) Operational Safety Audit pro- gram (IOSA) following a successful safety audit. AirZim had been de-registered from the IOSA certification in September 2012 after failing IOSA's assessment subsequent to a brief halt of business because of an industrial strike. Minister Mpofu said the agreement will promote an international aviation sys- tem based on competition between air- lines and ensuring the highest degree of safety and security in international air services. “As a ministry and Gov- ernment, we are really excited by this development…which shows the extent of the good bilateral relations between our countries,” he added. • Zimbabwe signs Air services agreement with India Minister Mpofu
  2. 2. By Lynn Murahwa Zimbabwe is contributing less than one percent of foreign direct investment towards Africa as the level of invest- ment remain low. Speaking at a CEO Network Seminar this morning, Invictus Investment Management chief executive Ritesh Anand said Zimbabwe can draw more investment from its vast resources and potential. "Zimbabwe attracts less that one per- cent of FDI towards Africa, but it is well positioned to attract FDI because of its highly educated population, good infra- structure and vast natural resources" he said. Anand said the country needs to explore more investment channels by creating a broader investment pol- icy that does not discriminate between regions. "MostoftheFDIflowscomefromwest- ern countries, Europe and the United States.WhiletheChinesemayincrease investments significantly they are still way below the US which has 228 bil- lion dollars in FDI versus China which had 100 billion dollars," said Anand. He added that it would be in the country's best interest to establish a special eco- nomic taskforce to participate in policy overview and implementation. "Zimbabwe needs a special economic taskforce which can really bind Gov- ernment on policies and that taskforce will comprise of people in the private sectors that have an understanding of business and what investors are look- ing for" he said. Speaking at the same event, Dairibord chief executive officer Anthony Mandi- wanza said the country must begin to take their economic liberation into their own hands. "Zimbabwean people must have confidence in themselves to know that you are your own liberators. To expect someone to bring foreign capital into this country and liberate you is daydreaming, it does not hap- pen. The Zimbabwean people must take centre stage and in doing that create the platform for partnership for FDI," he said. He added that investors want to invest in an environment where they can spread the risk as well as a market that offers the possibility of a risk-free profit after transaction costs. "Nobody brings foreign capital into this country without spreading risk, anybody who wants to come into this country needs to find a partnership in order to spread risk, it has happened in financial service sector and many other sectors. Foreign capital will come into a market where there are opportunities for arbitraging,” he said. • 2 NEWS Zim contribution to African FDI less than 1 percent Mr Mandiwanza
  3. 3. 3 NEWS Benscore Investments is considering selling a majority stake in Zimbabwe Alloys Chrome Limited to one of three investors in a bid to rescue the ferro- chrome producer, according to a per- son with knowledge of the matter. Afro-Chine Smelting, a unit of Tsi- ngshan Holding Group, is one of the companies to conduct due diligence at ZimAlloys and may submit an offer by the end of this month, said the person who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, is another of the potential bidders, The Herald reported, citing an unidentified official. A London-based spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal declined to comment. Three calls by Bloomberg News to Tsingshan’s office in Shanghai went unanswered. ZimAlloys, which controls almost 40 percent of the southern African coun- try’s chrome reserves, was placed under judicial management of audit firm Grant Thornton Camelsa almost two years ago after being hurt by a Government ban on exporting unpro- cessed chrome ore and falling prices of ferrochrome. For Benscore to sell control of the com- panytoanoverseasinvestor, cuttingits 85 percent stake to a minority holding would require special dispensation to skirt a Zimbabwe law that caps foreign ownership at 49 percent, the person said. Benscore plans to retain control of ZimAlloys’ mineral rights, according to the person. Zimbabwe holds the big- gestchromereservesafterneighboring South Africa. The chrome producer, which was con- trolled by Anglo American Plc until 2005, has struggled to raise $40 mil- lion to rebuild three obsolete chrome smelting furnaces that were shut down in 2008. Ferrochrome, made by processing chrome ore in a smelter, is used in the production of stainless steel. ― Bloomberg • ZimAlloys investor said to consider offers for majority holding
  4. 4. AdM-DI156506- BH24
  5. 5. 5 NEWS Zim-Angola Bilateral agreement to encourage trade BH24 Reporter The finalisation of the bilateral trade agreement between Zimbabwe and Angola will open more opportunities for local entities to trade in the emerging African economy. Zimtrade chief executive Sithembile Pilime said this during a seminar held to present to entrepreneurs the find- ings of a market research done on the availability of trade and investment opportunities in Angola. She said the Angolan market research had gener- ated specific information on possible business opportunities but exports to Angola could be easier if the bilateral agreement is finalised . “We are encouraged by efforts being made by authorities regarding the finalization of the Zimbabwe-Angola bilateral trade agreement and would urge that everything be done to quicken the pace of the discussions,” she said. The country already has five prefer- ential bilateral trade agreements with Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique aimed at encouraging and stimulating trade between Zimbabwe and the co-operat- ing partners through the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade. The agreements provides for Zim- babwean importers to buy goods from signatory countries without pay- ing import duty or by paying a small agreed duty as long as the goods in question qualify under the terms of the agreement and are registered as such. “Angola is a fast emerging regional economy that has been growing phe- nomenally over the years. We are aware that business in external mar- kets carries business risks, hence deci- sions should be premised on quality data and information,” she said. Zimtrade manager for SME export development Allan Majuru said local companies can find opportunities in sectors including agriculture, textile, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, meat and processed foods, transport and construction. He, however, said local businesses needed to create partnerships with Angolan locals to make operations eas- ier and less costly. • Ms Pilime
  6. 6. BH24
  7. 7. At least 45 people have died in acci- dents at the workplace while 2 700 have been seriously injured since Jan- uary this year, up from 35 deaths and 2 200 injuries recorded during the same period in 2013, an official said on Thursday. National Social Security Authority (NSSA) occupational safety and health director Rodgers Dhliwayo told New Ziana that the increase in workplace accidentswasbecauseemployerswere not prioritizing safety of workers as they optimized on profits. Dhliwayo was speaking on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Conference of safety, health and environmental practitioners “So far we have about 45 fatalities in industries up to about end of May this year only with over 2 700 seriously injured. By this time last year we had about 35 fatalities and with injuries of about 2 200. So certainly the figures have gone up,” he said. Heattributedthehighnumberofoccu- pational accidents to negligence by employers who were paying lip service to conditions of service for workers. “What we find quite missing is a posi- tive attitude from employers. They are not investing in occupational safety. Because of the liquidity crunch in the country, employers are not investing in occupational safety,” he said. Dhliwayo said recruitment of untrained contract workers who were easy to fire and less costly to the employer was also causing accidents. “Right now the majority of people working in industries are contract workers. They are not trained yet they deal with sophisticated equipment. “A lot of these accidents actually involve these contract workers, so it is a response of employers to economic challenges that we have,” he said. Hesaidfewerpeoplewereemployedto the extent that they were overworked and lost concentration while working with machinery. “As NSSA we keep urging employers to put workplace safe first before produc- tion,” said Dhliwayo. New Ziana MINING7 Workplace accidents on the increase
  8. 8. BH24
  9. 9. The equities market today went up 1,39 percent buoyed by gains in heav- yweight counters. The industrial index surged 2.36 points to close at 184.86 points. There were gains in BAT which added 15 cents to 1 225 cents and giant Old Mutual pushed up 7 cents to close at 260 cents. Hippo added 4.99 cents to settle at 75 cents while Delta gained 2.90 cents to 121 cents. Seed manufacturing giant Seedco advanced 1.21 cents to settle at 71.21 cents and Meikles inched up a cent to 22 cents. Turnall and Innscor gained 0.70 cents and 0.50 cents to close at 3 cents and 78 cents respectively. Losses were recorded by NMB which lost 0.50 cents to settle at 3.50 cents while OK Zimbabwe slipped 0.21 cents to close at 18.30 cents. FBCH eased 0.20 cents to 11.30 cents. The mining index added 3.20 points (5.86%) to close at 57.78 points. Bind- ura gained 0.40 cents to 4.61 cents whilstFalgoldeased0.50centstotrade at 1.50 cents. Hwange and RioZim maintained previ- ous trading levels. — BH24 Reporter • 9 ZSE REVIEW ZSE maintains gains
  10. 10. Today’s edition of The Herald carried a story tittled ‘ZimSwitch connecting local banks to the region’. According to the story, ZimSwitch is at an advanced stage of linking banks to their regional counterparts to facilitate the flow of cross-border transactions between Zimbabwe and other countries in the SADC region. “The concept of the regional hub is that messages will be sent to a central point in each country and then sent via a single pipeline to the regional clearing house for clearing,” said ZimSwitch general manager Cyril Nyatsanza. The hub is set to provide a shared platform web based capture portal to the banks for purposes of man- aging their SADC cross border trans- actions. In addition all SADC member Banks participating in the new credit pay- ment service will need to develop the necessary capacity to originate and receive transactions according to the rules defined by the SADC Banking Association. We applaud this move. It’s about time our banks caught up with the rest of the world! Banks in developed nations have been provid- ing such a facility to their customers for years, decades even, but Zim- babweans have had to carry around large sums of money when travelling outside the country. Besides the fact that the facility was not available, whenever such a ser- vice was offered to selected top pri- ority clients by individual banks, it was expensive so people preferred to use cash. This facility will facilitate regional payments and also help to tap into the informal sector that has so far been difficult to capture. We under- stand that approximately $7,5 billion is circulating in the informal sector and the majority of people in that sector are cross border traders. So far, the sector has remained largely unbanked and not formally inte- grated and it has been difficult to get any form of revenue from this channel. The platform will simplify this. Some of our readers agree with us and had this to say: “Banks in most devel- oped nations have facilities and applications that allow any common user to make online international transactions in seconds from their accounts armed only with a valid IBAN and SWIFT bank code. About time Zimbabwean banks and a few other SADC nations caught up with the rest of the world. Otherwise many other circuits like Paypal can also be used for their facilities to transfer funds virtually anywhere in the world,” said one reader. “I salute you Zimswitch guys that's the way to go our country need peo- ple like you who think outside the box and bring in right technology to the right people at the right time as Zim thats how far we can go and we cant be compared with the west at the moment. real innovation which is feasible and less expensive than the 35million land audit,” said another reader. So there we have it, ZimSwitch has taken a step in the right direction. They could provide the breakthrough needed in Zimbabwe’s financial inclusion initiative. We just hope the implementation of this idea does not remain such- ‘an idea’. • 10 BH24 COMMENT ZimSwitch connects banks to region: Its about time! Programme and Duration Entry Requirements The Senior Assistant Registrar (Admissions) University of Zimbabwe P.O. Box MP 167 Mount Pleasant, HARARE Email: admissions@admin.uz.ac.zw Tel: 04 303211 ext 11116/11181/11112 You can also download our application form from www.uz.ac.zw and enclose the application fee. Internationals. Only cash will be accepted. Faculty of Commerce The closing date for receipt of application forms is 20th June, 2014. Late applications will be considered up to 27th June, 2014 Masters in Accountancy (MACC) (3yrs P/T) A first degree in Accounting or upon payment of a late application fee of US$70.related field with a 2.1 or better. Applicants with 2.2 must have two years relevant post- Application forms should be obtained from and forwarded to: graduate work experience. Masters in Strategic Marketing (MSM) (3yrs P/T) A first degree in Marketing or related field with a 2.1 or better. Applicants with 2.2 must have two years relevant post-graduate work experience. Applications and further information Application forms are available upon payment of a non- refundable fee of US$50 for Zimbabweans and US$70 for UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES: AUGUST 2014 INTAKE AdM-DI155882-C7 Applications are invited for the following programmes commencing in August 2014:
  11. 11. BH24
  12. 12. The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on 13 June 2014 a loan of US$ 300 million to Dangote Industries Limited for the construction and operation of a greenfield crude oil refinery and a greenfield fertilizer manufacturing plant. Both projects will produce for con- sumption in Nigeria and neighboring African countries. The project will allow Nigeria, which currently relies on imported petroleum products and fertilizer, to progressively become self-sufficient and transformed into a major exporter. Ultimately, the pro- ject will act as a catalyst to support job creation. The oil industry in Nigeria contrib- utes a large share to gross domestic product and accounts for the bulk of federal government revenue and for- eign exchange earnings. The country is the first crude oil producer in Africa, with a production close to 2.2 million barrels per day. Paradoxically, the country is a big importer of refined petroleum prod- ucts for its economy as well as fer- tilizer products. The Dangote Group was established in the late 1970s and started with importing sugar, milk, flour, fish, rice, cement and iron rods. The Group is now a diversified con- glomerate with business interests in cement, sugar, salt, port operations, packaging material production and real estate. The projects will add value to local natural resources, double the coun- try’s refining capacity, reduce by more than 80 percent current imports of fuel in the country and eliminate fertilizer imports. The projects are expected to help Nigeria on forex savings of $ 65 bil- lion through import substitution and provide revenues for FGN (taxes and fees). The projects will also create over 30,000 temporary jobs during con- struction, and 2,900 direct jobs during operations. The projects will compliment Bank’s ongoing effort to support FGN for the implementation of the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) ― AFDB • 12 REGIONAL News AfDB approves $300 million loan to boost fuel supply and fertilizer production in Nigeria enjoy the CAIO ride!
  13. 13. 13 DIARY OF EVENTS The black arrow indicate level of load shedding across the country. POWER GENERATION STATS Gen Station 19 June 2014 Energy (Megawatts) Hwange 415 MW Kariba 750 MW Harare 45 MW Munyati 32 MW Bulawayo -- MW Imports 170 MW Total 1412 MW 26 June - Pioneer 44th Annual General Meeting of Sharehold- ers, Venue: Pioneer Corporation Africa Limited Boardroom, Corner Hood/Hermes Roads, Southerton, Harare, Time: 10:00 hrs 26 June - Masimba Holdings Limited Thirty-Ninth Annual General Meeting of Mem- bers for the period ended 31 December 2013, Place: 44 Til- bury Road, Willowvale, Harare, Zimbabwe, Time: 12:00 30 June - TA Holdings 79th Annual General Meeting of the ordinary members Venue: Miti Room, Sango Conference Centre, Cresta Lodge, Harare, Time: 1400 hours 30 June - ZIMRE 16th Annual General Meeting of members, Venue: NICOZDIAMOND Audito- rium, 7th Floor Insurance Centre, 30 Samora Machel Avenue, Time: 1230 hours THE BH24 DIARY
  14. 14. 14 zse ZSE Movers CHANGE Today Price USc SHAKERS Change TODAY Price USc Cottco 11.11% 1.00 ZBFH -50.00% 3.00 BNC 5.25% 4.21 General Beltings -33.33% 0.04 Meikles 5.00% 21.00 Medtech -28.57% 0.05 PPC 4.17% 225.00 NicozDiamond 4.00% 1.30 Hippo 2.96% 70.01 Econet 2.08% 73.50 Dairibord 1.18% 8.60 Delta 0.93% 118.10 Indices Index Previous Today Move Change Industrial 181.03 182.50 +1.47 points +0.81% Mining 52.08 54.58 +2.50 points +4.80% Stocks Exchange
  15. 15. 15 AFRICA StockS Botswana 8,664.65 -11.96 -0.14% 12July Cote dIvoire 246.37 +2.18 +0.89% 07Mar Egypt 7,949.60 -75.68 -0.94% 06Mar Ghana 2,354.16 -7.26 -0.31% 18June Kenya 4,790.38 +26.27 +0.55% 18June Malawi 12,662.47 +0.00 +0.00% 07Mar Mauritius 2,074.51 -3.51 -0.17% 07Mar Morocco 9,544.10 +21.01 +0.22% 07Mar Nigeria 41,171.16 +35.46 +0.09% 18June Rwanda 131.27 +0.00 +0.00% 24Oct Tanzania 2,018.97 +25.40 +1.27% 07Mar Tunisia 4,624.39 -39.32 -0.84% 07Mar Uganda 1,503.90 +0.81 +0.05% 10Sep Zambia 4,242.74 +14.95 +0.35% 10April Zimbabwe 182.50 +1.47 +0.81% 18June African stock round up Commodity Prices Name Price Crude Oil 1,300.91 -0.21% Spot Gold USD/oz 1,292.63 -0.26% Spot Silver USD/oz 19.38 -0.46% Spot Platinum USD/oz 1,421.25 -0.33% Spot Palladium USD/oz 798.50 -0.64% LME Copper USD/t 6,770 -0.18% LME Aluminium USD/t 1,780 -1.17% LME Nickel USD/t 18,230 -1.73% LME Lead USD/t 2,095 -1.41% Quote of the day —"The secret of success is consistency of purpose." - Benjamin Dis- raeliGlobalshareholder.com
  16. 16. BH24
  17. 17. Operator MTN has been rated among the top 500 global companies on cor- porate sustainability and environmen- tal impact in the 2014 Newsweek Green Rankings. MTN, which operates in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, came in 276th, with a Green Score of 35.4 per cent. Newsweek partnered with Corporate Knights Capital and individuals from non-governmental organisations and the academic and accounting commu- nities, to complete the rankings, using eight performance indicators. “The ranking is particularly significant for MTN because we are in a small select group of global companies whose revenue is generated off a rela- tively low environmental impact basis,” said Paul Norman, MTN Group chief human resources and corporate affairs officer. “The recognition ahead of some of the major global brands is humbling, particularly as we operate in mar- kets where it’s not regulation driving responsible environmental behaviour. MTN is on this journey not only because it makes commercial sense; we operate in some of the most envi- ronmentally vulnerable parts of the world, where our customers often have the fewest economic resources to cope with the effects of climate change. As a result, we are conscious of the positive role we can play.”― Human IPO • Stocks approached a six-year high in Europe and bonds from Australia to ItalyroseaftertheFederalReservesaid interest rates will remain low. India’s rupee and the Philippine peso led gains in emerging-market currencies. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.8 percent at 10:10 a.m. in London. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed after the gauge closed at a record yesterday. Italian bonds rose for the first time in four days and Australia’s 10-year yield fell to the lowest this month. Corporate bond risk slid for a third day in Europe to within a basis point of a six-year low. The rupee strengthened the most in a month against the dollar. U.K. natural gas retreated for a third day. U.S. policy makers said yesterday they expect rates to stay low for a “consid- erable time” after the end of bond pur- chases as growth in the world’s larg- est economy recovers. Jobless claims probably fell last week in America, economists said before a Labor Depart- ment report today. “The Fed has removed one more potential obstacle for a continued cyclical bull market,” said Thomas Thy- gesen, head of cross-asset strategy at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB in Copenhagen. “Having the Fed say that the long-term rate could be lower even if long-term growth isn’t is a bullish gesture for both stocks (MXAP) and bonds. That’s a big change from March and it means the Fed is willing to try harder to achieve its growth and inflation objectives.” ― Bloomberg • 17 INTERNATIONAL NEWS MTN rated in top 500 green firms globally Stocks rise with bonds as rupee leads currencies higher
  18. 18. The world is a dangerous place. One only has to look at the rise in extrem- ism, rogue regimes, overthrown gov- ernments attempting to regain power, ethnic and religious factions fanatically opposed to one another, and other vio- lent conflicts to see this. Indeed one could say that the populace of Western democracies are perhaps more in peril now than at the peak of the Cold War when the threat of mutu- ally assured nuclear destruction kept most serious conflicts from ever start- ing. Back then there would have been a state to target should conflict arise. Nowadays the threat tends to come from small disparate fanatical groups which have no easily identifiable phys- ical power base and with leadership by individuals who may be located almost anywhere. But the weapons available to these groups and rogue states are often the most sophisticated money can buy, and the illegal arms trade can supply, and their awareness of the high tech means by which their leaders might be located makes them increasingly diffi- cult to track down and sanction. Even if the leadership is destroyed in say a drone strike, it tends to be like the Hydra’s head – cut them off and more grow in its place and often these are more extreme than the originals. Should some of these more extreme groups gain access to nuclear and bio- logical weapons we could be closer to at least partial Armageddon than at any time in global history. Thepastweekhasseenworryingactiv- ity almost globally – with ISIS making huge unexpected incursions into the heart of Iraq, more terrorist activity claiming lives and hostages in Africa and the Ukraine insurgency continuing to escalate – and, as a result, the gold price has been picking up again as safe haven investment starts to return. But whether this is enough on its own to kickstart a really significant gold price rise remains to be seen. In particular the American populace as a whole will likely remain unconcerned about activities on the other side of the world, but it should be aware that Al Qaeda and the even more extreme ISIS could perhaps pose even more of a major threat to people on the American continent than Russia has in the past or could in the future. And in Europe, which is closer geographically to most of the really serious global flashpoints, people are beginning to feel more vulnerable. Consider the successful ISIS move on Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city with a population of around 1.8 million. There some 500,000 are reported to have fled the city – mostly to Kurdish terri- tory to the east, while many more have been killed by the insurgents. Those who fled have had to leave their houses and possessions behind, escap- ingwithwhattheycancarrywiththem. Those who own gold will at least have a portion of their wealth with them which may stand them in good stead in the months, perhaps years, of trib- ulation ahead and help them establish a new life. Such is the nature of conflict. And when extremists like the ISIS groups 18 Analysis Place of gold in a perilous world
  19. 19. 19 Analysis – or Al Shahab in East Africa and Boko Haram in West Africa – attack, people would rather leave their homes and major possessions than stay and face a dangerous future – not only from the insurgent groups, but from potential city destroying conflict as the suppos- edly ruling government tries to take back the territory lost. Syria comes to mind as well, with a huge flood of refugees into neighbouring Turkey and Lebanon. Those who have put their trust in gold at least have something with which they can at least start a semblance of a new life. Those who survived such conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia through flight during the sectarian civil war which engulfed those countries in the 1990s will be well aware of this and one sus- pects many will nowadays be retaining an emergency reserve of easily trans- portable wealth – of which gold is the most easily tradeable in an emergency – in case conflict should spring up again, however unlikely. In Eastern Ukraine, much of the popu- lation in the apparently insurgent con- trolled Donbass region will be fearful of a heavy handed, and possibly indis- criminate, response by the Ukrainian army, particularly following the down- ing of one of its transport planes with heavy loss of life. People may choose to join the flood of refugees into Rus- sia which they see at least as a way of preserving their lives, if not their prop- erty and if they have gold they have something they can trade to re-estab- lish themselves in the event they are unable to return for whatever reason. Small wonder therefore that gold buy- ing is making something of a come- back in many parts of the world. The Middle East, for example, is see- ing major gold purchasing while in the perhaps more politically stable, but traditional gold buying areas like India, where gold has stood the test of time in terms of an inflation hedge, demand remains strong despite the govern- ment’s attempts to rein it in to protect the nation’s balance of payments. So too across virtually all of South- east Asia, some areas of which have a recent history of conflict, but virtually all of which have seen periods of out of control inflation. Even China – now the biggest gold buying nation of all - has seen citizens flooding to protect their wealth largely through inflation fears, but also for his- torical reasons. But it is the U.S. which seems cur- rently to control the gold price, perhaps through the machinations of the major bullion banks who can make vast prof- its through manipulating the price up and down by utilising the futures mar- kets, and these historic reasons for owning gold are not really present. Conflict is unlikely, bar some horren- dous terrorist atrocity, which cannot be ruled out given the fanatical nature of some of the anti-U.S. political groups elsewhere in the world. Meantime inflation has been kept under reasonable control for many years. The Wall Street crash of 1929 is mostly outside living memory, but a repeat cannot be dismissed and some savvy investors will be holding gold just in case. A terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 could well bring markets crashing down. It may be as well at least to hold some proportion of one’s wealth in gold as insurance. In Europe, the rise of far right and far left leaning political parties is a cause for concern in terms of political stability, while Ukraine is close geographically to the continent’s centre. Russia under Putin seems to be seek- ing to regain some of its past powers and no-one knows how this may pan out. It will leave those in some of the former Soviet controlled Eastern Euro- pean nations worried that the Bear may be flexing its claws in order to regain its influence – perhaps as much by destabilisation as by actual conflict. The global banking system too remains stretched and bank collapses could leavepeopleheavilyexposed–justask Greek Cypriots! It is indeed an uncertain and perilous world we live in and holding gold as a wealth protector seems as important nowasiteverhasbeen–notnecessar- ily for making huge gains as a result of arisingprice,butasaprotectoragainst heavylossesshouldbankscollapseand markets crash. It is a prudent policy to hedge one’s bets. ― Mineweb •