Posts Tagged ‘BRICS Business’

South African bulk exports rose by 4.9%

Increase is despite y/y decline in the final two months of 2017

The record bulk exports confirm that the South African economy has exited recession, analysts say [Xinhua]

South African bulk export volumes rose by 4.9 per cent in 2017 to a new record of 171.3 million tons (Mt) after falling by 2.8 per cent in 2016 to 163.3 Mt, data from the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) showed.

The record bulk exports confirm that the South African economy has exited recession and is on its way to surprising most economists with its renewed vigour.

The annual increase was despite a 5.0 per cent y/y drop in December and a 7.7 per cent y/y fall in November as it had been preceded by a 30.7 per cent y/y surge in October to a record monthly 16.7 Mt.

The October 2017 record was set despite a severe storm that disrupted port operations in KwaZulu-Natal.

Although Richards Bay exported more than half South Africa’s total bulk exports, 2017 was the second consecutive year of slippage. Bulk exports out of Richards Bay, which are mostly coal, eased by 1.8 per cent in 2017 to 88.8 Mt after slipping by 2.8 per cent in 2016 to 90.4 Mt and jumping by 8.2 per cent in 2015 to 93 Mt.

Operational improvements on the coal link to the Mpumalanga coal fields should push exports back above the 90 Mt level in 2018.

Economists wonder why Richards Bay cannot consistently export at the record monthly tonnage of 9.5 Mt achieved in November 2016, which is equivalent to an annual 114 Mt. Surely if you can achieve it once, then you can do so again and again.

The answer to this will be given in the IHS Markit South African Coal Export Conference in Cape Town from 31 January to 2 February. Now in its 13th year, the conference aims to address the issue of South Africa lagging behind its BRICS peer of Brazil, as well its other main bulk commodity exporter competitor, Australia.

Policy uncertainty and logistics constraints meant that South Africa lost out on the 2003 to 2008 commodity price boom with annual bulk exports increasing by a mere 2.8 Mt between those two years.

Since then there has been a marked turnaround due to better policy co-ordination between mining companies and state-owned Transnet, so that volumes have improved by 45 per cent or 52.3 Mt between 2008 and 2015, but policy uncertainty about mineral rights and share ownership is hampering capacity expansions.

To address these investor concerns the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, will give the welcoming keynote address at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on 5 February. The Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment conference and has been hosted by Cape Town for more than 20 years.

The Ministerial Symposium on 4 February is the only event on the African continent that engages the most prominent mining company CEOs with 35 due to attend this year’s event, as well as 18 African Mining Ministers and the major industry organisations and multilaterals such as the World Bank Group, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Chamber of Mines South Africa and the African Development Bank.

Mining companies want policy certainty, while governments want mining companies to pay their fair share and encourage inclusive economic growth. The Symposium is aimed at achieving a mutually beneficial solution.

Helmo Preuss in Grahamstown, South Africa for The BRICS Post

China boosts new energy car production

Production of new energy vehicles – some for public transportation – is skyrocketing as China pushes ahead with green technologies [Xinhua]

China’s automotive industry has released data which shows that national sales of new energy cars – hybrid energy, battery and electri-operated vehicles – has increased by nearly six per cent in 2017.

In 2017, nearly 800,000 such “green” vehicles were sold on the Chinese market.

“New energy vehicle production jumped 53.8 percent to 794,000 units last year, up 53.8 percent from the previous year,” the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said.

This comes as the Chinese government seeks to adopt a two-tier approach to environmental safety and boost its automotive industry.

In late December 2017, the Ministry of Public Security announced that it had issued 150,000 new license plates for cars that ran on new energy.

Some 19 Chinese cities are working to increase the number of new energy vehicles on the road in this pilot campaign.

The authorities are now encouraging residents to curb the use of their vehicles while more pressure is applied to construction sites to implement stricter pollution controls.

The winter months are particularly more dangerous as millions of Chinese resort to coal as a primary heating source.

The Chinese government has earmarked a plan to help some 700 villages turn to clean energy rather than coal, as well as shut down hundreds of polluting factories.

In neighboring Shanxi province, which lies southwest of Beijing, authorities are considering shifting their economy toward technology and away from coal production.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

France turns to China for lucrative trade deals

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, is trying to position France as a major trading partner from Europe for China [PPIO]

With the UK less likely to back out from Brexit, France has decided to cement its trade ties with China.

French President Emmanuel Macron took a heavyweight team of business leaders and trade experts on his three-day trip to Beijing Monday.

Macron has been looking to sign billions of dollars in trade links with China, thereby making France one of the biggest trading partners in Europe.

But like many Western countries, France has a trade deficit with China – to the tune of around $35 billion.

Macron delivered some friendly advice to China during the second day of his trip.

“We have an access to markets which is unbalanced, unsatisfying,” said Macron.

“If we don’t deal with this responsibly, the first, natural, reaction will be to close up on both sides.”

Macron, who is the first foreign head of state to visit China this year, is nonetheless trying to woo China on environmental cooperation now that Beijing stands as the world leader in green efforts since the US pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords.

He also wants China to invest more in France.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his French counterpart on Monday that their countries’ bilateral ties stand at a new starting point.

“China stands ready to promote exchanges and enhance mutual trust and cooperation with France in order to inject new impetus into the development of the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership.”

Xi emphasized that the two countries “should give full play to the political leading role of the head of state diplomacy, and promote communication between governments, legislative organs, political parties, and the military of the two countries”.

On Tuesday, Xi and Macron met at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, and oversaw the signing of bilateral agreements, including the framework deals for Airbus to sell 100 aircraft to China.

Paris-based Areva, a global conglomerate in nuclear power and renewable energy, has also signed an $12 billion MoU for a Chinese nuclear reprocessing plant.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

China Central Bank pushes for cross-border RMB use

The RMB is the currency of choice for the BRICS New Development Bank. It is the fifth most used currency in the world [Xinhua]

The People’s Bank of China on Friday said that it encouraged cross-border and overseas use of the renminbi (RMB) currency to settle accounts and boost investment.

It acknowledged that Chinese banks have been looking to trade in offshore RMB and that there was a growing need for foreign-funded companies in China to be able to transfer investment revenue overseas.

“Enterprises may use RMB for cross-border settlement in whatever foreign currency-based trade,” the PBOC said.

The central bank’s announcement comes part and parcel of the Beijing government’s efforts to increase foreign investment in China and facilitate ease of doing business there for domestic and foreign enterprises.

This would also work to support the extensive and increasing Chinese investments abroad.

This has led to the most prominent Chinese banks to expand their business and trade in major world currencies abroad.

Meanwhile, international payments infrastructure company SWIFT reported that the RMB surpassed the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar as the sixth most used currency in November last year.

The Chinese currency renminbi (RMB, also known as the yuan) “has ascended to the world’s fifth most widely used payment currency,” an HSBC survey in 2016 showed.

The survey, Renminbi Internationalisation Study 2016, found that corporations are more than ever introducing the RMB into their treasury and “integrating it across various business applications each year”.

China’s currency has been gaining popularity and traction in the past few years.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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