Business

FAO doubts Zim cereal import capacity

ZIMBABWE’S cereal import requirements for the 2020/21 year are estimated at about 1,1 million tonnes amid concern over the country’s capacity to access offshore supplies at a time it is battling worsening foreign currency shortages, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA This quantity mostly comprises maize, estimated at over 750 000 tonnes. “Due to a second consecutive year with a below average cereal outturn and the low level of domestic stocks, cereal import requirements in the 2020/21 marketing year (April/March) are estimated at about 1,1 million tonnes, more than 50% above the five-year average. This quantity mostly comprises maize grain, estimated at over 750 000 tonnes, nearly double the average,” FAO said in its June 25 Global Information and Ear...

Bull and bear markets

It is an unverified historical belief that bear and bull markets were named after the way in which a bear and bull attacks. Bulls tend to thrust their horns up into the air, while a bear will swipe down. These actions were then related metaphorically to the movement of a capital market: if the trend was up, it was considered a bull market; if the trend was down, it was a bear market. A bear market refers to a decline in prices, in a single security or asset, group of securities or the securities market as a whole. In a bear market, the economy tends to be weak. Consumers spend less, which results in lower business profits. This tends to devalue a given company’s stock. Investors tend to sell their stocks before the value decreases too much. Investors don’t want to take risks be...

RTG redeems issued debentures

LISTED hotelier, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) says it will soon redeem in full the debentures issued during its capital raise exercise two years ago. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA In January 2018, RTG raised $22,5 million by way of a rights issue linked to debentures. The capital raise comprised $5,81 million worth of rights issue shares and $16,68 million in linked redeemable debentures carrying a par value of $1 each. The rights issue shares and debentures have since been delinked and both were listed and are trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). “The board of directors of the company hereby advises debenture holders that the board has resolved to redeem in full the 16 687 500 debentures issued during January 2018 capital raise. The redemption will be consummated in line with Clause 5.6 of ...

Zimdollar continues to tumble

THE Zimbabwe dollar has devalued further to a new low of $105 against the greenback on the parallel foreign currency market as demand for the United States dollar intensifies. BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA With the Zimdollar continuing to depreciate, businesses are pegging prices of their goods and services against the parallel forex market rate instead of the official foreign currency rate of US$1:$57,35. This is because the parallel forex market is widely accepted to be a true reflection of the foreign currency exchange rates. The depreciation of the local unit has been worsened by the central bank reintroducing its foreign currency exchange auction last week, a failed measure that was first implemented in 2004, but ceased a year later under Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) former governor Gideon Gon...

Keep calm: Econet hits back at government ban

Econet has urged users of its mobile money platform, EcoCash to keep calm and ignore a statement from the government on Friday that said the money transfer service was banned. In a statement, Econet told its clients to “remain calm and to continue to do your lawful transactions as usual”. Econet said it was regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the statement from Nick Mangwana, the Information ministry permanent secretary, was not binding on them. “EcoCash is regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and would naturally expect a directive of that nature and significance to be communicated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” the company said.  Econet, which says it has more than 10 million subscribers on its EcoCash platform, said, should there be changes “we shall give you adequ...

Government shutters EcoCash

The government on Friday struck a mortal blow on Econet, suspending mobile money transactions, which will affect EcoCash the most, and suspended trade on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in an effort to contain the collapse of the country’s currency. In a statement on Friday evening, the permanent secretary in the Information ministry, Nick Mangwana said the ban on mobile cash was part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge to deal with wolves in sheep’s skin among the country’s population. Econet’s EcoCash is the biggest mobile money service and the measures will be felt hardest by the Strive Masiyiwa owned company, which has a 94% market share. “Government is in possession of impeccable evidence which constitutes a prima facie case whereby the phone-based mobile money systems are conspiring...

As Zimbabwe’s Economy Crumbles, Mugabe’s Successor Courts Unrest

Zimbabweans celebrated in their tens of thousands when the military ousted Robert Mugabe and installed Emmerson Mnangagwa as president. Two-and-a-half years later, the party is over. Mnangagwa, 77, came to power promising political reform and a wave of foreign investment, but there’s been little of either. Instead, outside funds are being withheld and painful economic measures have been imposed, with the army deployed to violently quell protests. Such is the public disquiet that many ruling party leaders, including some with military links, are losing patience with Mnangagwa, four people familiar with the situation said, asking not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation. Military leaders took the unprecedented step of calling a press conference this month to say they were...

Zimbabwe fuel prices more than double

A petrol attendant fuels a car at a filling station in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 28, 2019, REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo The last time the southern African country saw a similar steep rise in fuel prices, in January 2019, violent protests broke out, leaving as many as 17 people dead after a crackdown by the security forces. Zimbabwe is already going through its worst economic crisis in a decade, marked by high inflation, food and medical shortages. The price of petrol will go up to 71.62 Zimbabwe dollars (U.S. $1.25) per litre, from 28.96 Zimbabwe dollars previously, the regulator announced on Tuesday night. The diesel price will now be 62.77 Zimbabwe dollars from 24.93 Zimbabwe dollars. Zimbabwe began weekly foreign currency auctions on Tuesday in a bid to increase efficiency in the allocatio...

Standard Bank, Microsoft host investors conference

Standard Bank in partnership with ICBC Standard Bank and Microsoft is hosting it’s 10th Africa Investors Conference using the Microsoft enhanced teams platform. BY TAFADZWA MHLANGA The conference started on Monday and will run until tomorrow. The conference is aimed at connecting investors, African corporate clients and policymakers to connect with the world’s leading institutional investors. “In line with current world trends, Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe’s parent company, Standard Bank Group has adopted a digital approach to enable African corporate clients and leading policymakers to connect virtually with some of the world’s leading institutional investors,” read the statement. “In partnership with ICBC Standard Bank and Microsoft, Standard Bank is hosting its 10th Africa Investors Conference...

Govt hikes fuel 150%, gazettes USD prices

GOVERNMENT has hiked fuel prices by 150% and also formally gazetted US dollar prices in a move that continues to redollarise the market and setting the stage for another wave of price increases. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA In a circular on Tuesday night, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority announced that a litre of diesel now costs $62,77 from $24,90 or US $1,09 per litre. Petrol now costs $71,62 from $28,90 or US$1,28 per litre. The new prices were announced a few hours after the central bank abandoned the fixed exchange rate of US$1:$25 and adopted a forex auction system which set the official Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate to the US dollar at US$1:$57,36, for a week at least. Zera has set the stage for fuel dealers to stop selling in the inflation ravaged Zimdollar, preferring hard currency. Fu...

Tobacco growers push for exchange rate disparity pay-out

TOBACCO growers are pushing authorities to consider exchange rate difference payment to cover the losses they incurred when they sold their crop at a fixed rate of US$1:$25. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA The forex auction system started to operate yesterday. Since the commencement of the selling season in April, farmers were getting 50% of their earnings at a fixed rate of US$1:$25 at a time the parallel market rate is around US$1:$100. Farmers now want government to give them the difference in a bid to recoup their investments. Farmers get the other 50% in foreign currency through nostro accounts and the money is regarded as free funds. Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president George Seremwe said the move to have a market-determined exchange rate should see farmers getting paid exchange-rate diffe...

COVID-19: Safari sector records US$100 million loss

ZIMBABWE’S safari sector has lost revenue of nearly US$100 million due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, a new report has revealed. BY MTHANDAZO NYONI With flights grounded, hunters continue to cancel bookings for 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Zimbabwe has recorded more than 500 cases of COVID-19 infections and 6 deaths. The industry said close to 90% of the bookings, which are equivalent to 8 000 hunting days have been cancelled to date.  In its latest report titled: “The effects of COVID-19 pandemic on communities and conservation efforts in Zimbabwe,” the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) said the wildlife sector was facing a bleak future. “The national lockdowns have cast a dark spell on the wildlife sector. This sector relies to a large ...