Good morning

The headlines:
  1. The S&P 500 index has had its biggest decline of 2012, as fears build up around the Greek debt swap deadline (tomorrow). But at the same time, yesterday was just a day for bad news in general: with China cutting its growth target, Brazil announcing a growth rate for last year of just 2.7% (well below its fellow BRIC countries), and a report telling everyone that the European economy had contracted (although frankly, I’m not sure why this was “news” per se – surely we all knew that was coming? It’s the breaking news equivalent of the sky going dark after the sun sets). No doubt, investors will really get excited if this debt deal requires the enforcement of CACs. Tomorrow. Who’s excited? Link: S&P 500 has big decline.
  2. Apple is due to roll out the new iPad (3) today in San Francisco. We’re expected the standard improvements in processing speed and the number of pixels that can be squeezed out of a screen. My question: when are they going to start adding memory? And not this cloud business – that’s no good to me in a land where free wifi is an oxymoron because it’s not freely available. Surely we can do better than 64GB at the top end? Come now. Link: Apple Pinches Tablet Rivals
  3. South Africa is gearing up for a nationwide strike today over short-term labour contracts and road tolls. Observation: shrewd move, COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions). Combining a cause that every Johannesburger believes in (road tolls) with one that not too many people care about (short-term labour contracts)? Smooth. Very smooth. I myself am planning to continue life as normal. Because e-tolls on the Johannesburg highways are irritating, but avoidable (I’m not really in the “my way is the highway every day” position). And short-term labour contracts make solid economic sense. Permanent employees? Shot, but not. That makes people difficult to fire when they’re a cost. Link: COSATU threatens to shut down 40% of the economy in strike action. Sidebar: why are highway tolls the subject of a nationwide strike? The e-tolls are unique to Johannesburg! Oh right – the short-term labour contracts. Yes. 
  4. It looks like Mitt Romney has won Super Tuesday, collecting 129 delegates thus far, of the 419 available. Rick Santorum has amassed 47. The others are barely worth mentioning. Link: Super Tuesday: Romney predicted to win.
  5. And the Africa Business News in brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • Mauritian inflation has dropped to 6.2% pa in February from January’s 6.4% pa.
    • The Seychelles’ inflation rate has increased to 5.8% pa in February from January’s 5.6% pa. Riveting. 
    • Zimbabwe is set to announce the fate of Impala Platinum’s Zimbabwean division today, after indigenisation talks ended in a deadlock. Riveting – without the sarcasm.
    • Uganda’s Central Bank governor has been cleared of corruption charges by the ruling party.
    • Australia’s Tiger Resources is attempting a deal to buyout its state-owned partner Gecamines, which owns 40% of its mining activities in the DRC.
That’s all for now.
Have a great Wednesday.