Good morning

The headlines:

  1. To return to the ongoing Iran sanction saga, India is supposedly going to start paying for its Iranian oil in rupees. The Iranians would prefer to be paid in forex (who doesn’t?); and from what I can tell, current payments are taking place in Euros, with the majority of payments being transferred through Turkey (as the US banks are being awkward). However, when EU sanctions begin in July, Turkey says that it will no longer be able to process those payments (despite Turkey not being part of the EU as yet). When that happens: payments in rupees. Transfers are likely to take place through the state-run UCO Bank, which doesn’t have US operations and therefore is unlikely to be impacted by the sanctions. Link: Iran and India.
  2. In what sounds like a recycled news item, the Europeans say that the crisis is nearing its end, but Ben Bernanke warns that a US recovery isn’t assured. Yawn. Link: the Europeans say that the crisis is nearing its end, but Ben Bernanke warns that a US recovery isn’t assured.
  3. The Magic Johnson group has won a bid to buy the bankrupt L.A. Dodgers for $2 billion. I’ll be honest – each time I see someone buying a sports team, I wonder how much of that purchase makes economic sense, and how much of it is just “heart” (read: irrational bursts of stimulant chemicals in response to external stimuli). On the one hand: stadiums, merchandising, fans who “heart” the team and will pay for season passes and such. On the other hand: the L.A. Dodgers is bankrupt. And there’s an ex-wife involved. And Fox TV making a noise about their television rights. How much magic do you need? Link: Magic Johnson Group to buy LA Dodgers.
  4. South African Reserve Bank governor, Gill Marcus, is set to announce the results of the MPC meeting later today. According to all 18 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, the rate is expected to remain unchanged. Presumably, this is on the back of last month’s inflation data, which showed inflation falling to 6.1%. Link: SARB may delay raising interest rates.
  5. And the Africa Business News in brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), the country’s largest retirement fund with a portfolio of around $150 billion, is set to expand its investments into Africa and global portfolios in order to diversify risk. Of course – their portfolio base may also be getting just a touch too big for the SA investment market. 
    • Illiad Africa’s headline earnings have dropped by 76%. Now that’s awkward.
    • Zambia’s Central Bank is set to introduce a benchmark interest rate from the beginning of April to replace the money supply targeting that has been their principal policy tool up to this point.
And that’s all for now.
Happy Wednesday.