Good morning

The headlines:
  1. I guess the big news of the day is that Rick Santorum has suspended his nomination for the Republican Presidential candidate. I love the way that Americans use the word “suspend” like somehow he can change his mind if he’d like. Uh no. Either way – I’m a liberal at heart in everything except abortion and tax rules (I make no apologies), so I’m delighted. Although I suppose that this now means that Mr Romney will look for a running mate who’ll stand for all the conservative social issues. That said: I’d vote for anyone who realises that the social debate pales in comparison to the fiscal crisis faced by the US. I guess that means I’d vote for Ron Paul. Geezlike. Link: The Santorum Suspension.
  2. Also, it seems that the world didn’t buy Spain’s 10 billion euros of efficiencies in healthcare and education. Literally. Spanish yields on 10-year benchmark bonds increased by 20 basis points yesterday. And you know the story – an increase in yields means that the price of the bond has come down, which means that people are either selling more or only willing to buy at a lower price, which is a sign of the market seeing the bonds as more risky, so on, so forth, etc. But I agree with the market’s point (I think). Without the austerity measures, Spain is at risk of needing a bailout. With austerity measures, Spain is going to economically slow down, and may still need a bailout. Either way: risk. Link: Spanish Bond Yields Rise.
  3. The Philippines have said that they’re in a stand-off with Chinese ships in the South China Sea. The details involve illegal fisherman in the Philippine economic zone, Chinese surveillance ships preventing an arrest, and the summoning of an envoy to Manila to explain itself – but the details aren’t really that important. I’m mentioning it because I think that it’s so interesting. Every couple of months, you hear of another incident where China is antagonising another-country-whose-name-I-can’t-spell over territory in the South China Sea. Which is a hot-bed of oil. And also hotly disputed. From what I can tell, China considers “Philippine Economic Zone” to be nothing but a naming convention for an area of its sea. After all, proximity to the Philippines is as good a reason as any for a name. Link: The South China Sea Stand-off.
  4. And the African Business News in brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has announced that Zimbabwe plans to nearly double its wheat production this year to 75,000 tonnes. Umm. How? “Low-interest loans”. Umm. With what now? 
    • Malawi’s finance minister expects international aid to the country to be restored under the new president, Joyce Banda. As do we all.
    • Transnet is looking to raise R86.5 billion from debt markets to finance its capital infrastructure expansion plans.
    • Randgold has “welcomed” the political settlement in Mali, the site of two thirds of its gold-mining operations.
    • Zimbabwe has accepted the Anglo American Platinum’s plan for indigenisation. So this is where the wheat money is coming from. And election cash. 
That’s all for now.
Have a good day.