Good morning

The headlines:
  1. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un says that his country won’t be blackmailed. He was dressed in black at the time (a military parade) – which I found slightly ironic. I’m not sure why he’s worried about being blackmailed – last week’s rocket launch was as epic as a fail gets – and Asian Stock Markets were positively rebounding at the news. On the flipside – the loss of face may cause an attempt to regain it. Hence the underlying threat that nuclear testing will take place. It sounds  evil-disney-villain you dare to laugh at me…I WILL DESTROY YOU. Link: The Continuation of Kim.
  2. Temasek Holdings is buying part of Goldman Sach’s stake in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). My interesting point of information: ICBC owns 20% of Standard Bank. Temasek is a Singapore state-owned Investment Group. The selling price is said to be around $2.5 billion, and will give Temasek a 5% interest in ICBC. From what I can tell, this leaves GS with an 8% holding. Link: ICBC Sale.
  3. Google is being fined by the Federal Communications Commission for impeding an inquiry into its data collection practices. The fine is $25,000. I’m mentioning it because I think that it’s funny that it’s news. Link: Google gets maximum fine.
  4. China has changed its daily trading band from 0.5% to 1%. While China has a fixed exchange rate regime, it does allow daily fluctuations in the rate within a narrow band. The limit has been sitting at 0.5% since May 2007. I’m just not sure what difference this will make. It’s been suggested that a more flexible yuan will help the Central Bank to control inflation – although I’m confused as to how (maybe a weaker yuan will make exports more expensive, causing an economic slowdown and thereby decrease inflation? Surely not a key objective…). The other suggestion is that it’s a token move to mute criticism from the world for keeping the yuan weak in order to maintain export competitiveness artificially. That also doesn’t sound right – if China hasn’t cared until this point, why change it now? I have no answers. Link: China widens band.
  5. And the African Business News in brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • South Sudan says it will withdraw its troops from the Heglig oilfield if the UN sends neutral forces into the area. The oilfield is at the centre of tensions between Sudan and South Sudan.
    • Zimbabwe’s maize crop is going to drop by a quarter this year, after “a prolonged dry spell”. Frankly, I think that the reason given is a rubbish one. I’ve just come back from Zimbabwe, and “enough rain” is one problem that they don’t seem to have. 
    • Another pipeline in Nigeria has been attacked.
    • British oil firm Tullow Oil has rejected accusations that it was involved in the bribing of government officials in Uganda. It says that the documents proving the allegation were forged. 
That’s all for now.
Have a good day.