Good morning

The headlines:
  1. Petronas is planning a Canadian acquisition worth $5 billion. For my South African readers, the interest in Petronas is mainly because they own Engen, which has ingeniously partnered with Woolworths to make my Woolies experience a 24 hour experience. But the interesting part of this story is the reason behind it. The Canadian acquisition is intended to help Petronas supply gas to Asia. In North America, gas retails at 15% of Asian benchmark prices; largely as a result of new technology in the extraction of gas from shale rock, which has boosted production. Link: Petronas goes to Canada.
  2. It seem to be a week of Purchasing Manufacturer Indices. The PMI of the Eurozone has dropped to 47.7 according to Markit Economics. The Unemployment rate for the Eurozone also rose to 10.8% for February – the highest since June 1997. So it seems that a Eurozone fiscal contraction is well underway. However – I’d like to point out that this data has been produced without the figures for Greece. So potentially a bit higher then. Link: The Euro Crisis.
  3. In coffee-related news, the premium between arabica and robusta beans is set to widen after a surge in robusta supply out of Vietnam. It seems that the Vietnamese farmers have been hanging onto their beans as an inflation hedge after Vietnam’s inflation surged to 23% in August 2011. Inflation has moderated (down to 14% for March), so the expectation is that the stockpiles might start entering the market. Why the arabica premium? Well – arabica beans tend to have a much softer, fruitier flavour. Unless you’re Vida e Caffe and burn the beans. Robusta, on the other hand, is often described as tasting like burnt tyres. Frankly – I maintain that you’re still drinking a Vida roast/burnt. When robusta is done well – it has a magnificent nuttiness. Confession: I prefer it. So hail the oversupply. Link: Arabica VS Robusta.
  4. And the African Business News in brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • Dangote Cement has planned to list a 20% stake on the London Stock Exchange last year, Aliko Dangote (Africa’s Richest Man) has announced.
    • Sudan and South Sudan have accused each other of launching attacks on the oil-producing area along their border. Upcoming peace talks have since been delayed. The UN is concerned that the border clash could reignite the civil war between the two countries.
That’s all for now.
Have a good day.