April 26, 2018

South Africa may enforce law on black ownership of mines

Under the current legislation in the country’s mining charter, white owners of mining companies are obliged to sell at least 26 percent of their companies to new black owners.

New South African president wants to seize land from white farmers without compensation

However, there is a so-called “once empowered, always empowered” principle, under which a company which has sold a required stake to a black owner and then bought it back remains compliant with the charter, despite losing its black ownership due to such an exit.

The case has been mooted for several years but has recently been revived in South Africa. On April 4, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the first two versions of the country’s mining charter do not oblige miners to top up black-shareholding levels if they previously met the 26 percent quota. In other words, the High Court ruled in favor of the ‘once empowered, always empowered’ principle.

But the Department of Mineral Resources wants to reverse the High Court decision and enforce the black ownership quota.

“The Chamber of Mines is currently reviewing the specified grounds of appeal, although the Department of Mineral Resources’s appeal appears to center on the majority judges obiter dictum comments about the legality of the 2010 charter and the enforceability of the charters,” the nation’s mining lobby said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

South Africa is said to boast the world’s largest reserves of platinum and manganese, and also has gold, iron-ore, coal, chrome and zinc in its deposits. Uncertainty about the mining charter and ownership levels have deterred investment in a sector that accounts for 8 percent of the country’s GDP.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424863-south-africa-black-ownership-mining/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Huge stock market collapse is coming – investment guru Mark Mobius

“I can see a 30 percent drop. The market looks to me to be waiting for a trigger to tumble,” Mobius said, as quoted by the London-based Financial News.

Stock markets ‘right on the brink’ of 50% crash, financial expert warns

According to Mobius, the former executive chairman at Templeton Emerging Markets, all the indicators now point to a great fall in the SP 500 and the Dow Jones. “The consumer confidence is at all-time high in the US, and it’s not a good sign,” he said. “The market looks to me to be waiting for a trigger that will cause it to tumble.

“You can’t predict what that event might be – perhaps a natural disaster or war with North Korea,” he said, stressing that a fall in the US market would mean trouble for everyone.

The veteran investor, who predicted the start of the bull market in 2009, warns that any drop could be strengthened by the increasing use of exchange traded funds (ETFs), which account for nearly half of all trading in US stocks. The ETFs could evoke further declines once markets fall.

“You have computers and algorithms working 24/7 and that would basically create a snowball effect. There is no safety valve to prevent further falls, and that fall would escalate very quickly,” Mobius told the media. “ETFs represent so much of the market that they would make matters worse once markets start to tumble.”

Earlier this year, another investment veteran, Jim Rogers, said that the next bear market would “be worst in our lifetime.” One of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, said that a 2008-like financial crisis was a certainty.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424854-mobius-stock-market-crash-correction/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Iran dumps dollar for euro in foreign trade transactions

The governor of Iran’s central bank (CBI) Valiollah Seif said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the “dollar has no place in our transactions today.” The new policy could reportedly encourage government bodies and firms linked to the state to increase their use of the euro at the expense of the American currency.

Russia Iran drop dollar trade by extending oil-for-goods supply agreement

France will start offering euro-denominated credits to Iranian buyers of its goods later this year to keep its trade out of the reach of US sanctions, said the head of state-owned French investment bank Bpifrance.

According to CBI’s Director of Foreign Exchange Rules and Policies Affairs Mehdi Kasraeipour, the share of the greenback in Iran’s trade activities is not high. As part of a trade embargo, US banks are banned from dealing with Iran.

Last month, Tehran announced that purchase orders by merchants that are based on US currency would no longer be allowed to go through import procedures. The step followed an official request by the CBI and was specifically meant to address fluctuations in market rates of the US dollar.

The Iranian currency has lost almost half of its value on the free market since last September. The rial has plunged to a record low of about 60,000 against the dollar before authorities set a fixed rate of 42,000 and warned Iranians they would face penalties for using other rates.

Khamenei blamed foreign enemies for the “recent issues in the currency market” and asked Iran’s intelligence services to defuse the plots against the Islamic republic.

Tehran, which has long sought to switch to non-dollar-based trade, had already signed agreements with several countries. It’s in talks with Russia on using national currencies in settlements.

While meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in November, Khamenei said the best way to beat US sanctions against the two countries was joint efforts to dump the American currency in bilateral trade. He told President Putin that, by using methods such as eliminating the US dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions between two or more parties, the sides could “isolate the Americans.”

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424851-iran-officially-switches-from-dollar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Yuan becoming safe haven for investors amid Russia-US standoff

The Chinese yuan is becoming a safe haven for global investors, Larry Brainard, TS Lombard chief emerging markets economist, told Bloomberg earlier this week. The analyst said that Chinese assets received a boost amid the sharp deterioration in Russia-US relations.

Death by a thousand cuts: China’s yuan-priced crude benchmark chips away at petrodollar

The yuan becomes a protecting asset when geopolitical risks intensify, as the Chinese government commonly remains neutral towards such conflicts, the head of analytics department at Grand Capita, Sergey Kozlovsky, told RT.

“The dynamics of the Chinese market this week has really confirmed the idea of safe haven,” the analyst said. “After a decrease in tensions, investors began to partially fix positions on Chinese securities, returning, for example, to Russian assets, which are more promising after the recent collapse of the ruble and the Russian stock market.”

The Chinese currency is currently one of the most attractive assets among foreign-exchange holdings, according to the head of AMarkets Analysys Department, Artem Deev, who also expects the yuan to become a safe haven.

“After all, the People’s Bank of China has managed to obtain for yuan a status of a reserve asset. Skeptics said that it is not enough to launch the currency into the orbit, it’s vital to support it,” he told RT. “And just several weeks ago, China made another breakthrough, launching national yuan-denominated crude futures and gold futures contracts denominated in yuan.”

The step will reportedly encourage investors to gradually replace dollar reserves with yuan reserves, inevitably bolstering the Chinese currency. According to Deev, this factor is one of the major drivers for the yuan gaining safe haven status.

In 2016, The International Monetary Fund included the Chinese yuan in the Special Drawing Right (SDR) alongside the US dollar, the Japanese yen, the euro, and the British pound. SDR is supplementary foreign-exchange reserve assets that is defined and maintained by the Washington-based organization. The inclusion of the yuan was considered an important step in the integration of the Chinese economy into the global financial system. The yuan is currently number three in the IMF basket, after the dollar and the euro.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424824-yuan-safe-haven-world-investors/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

iPhone X is dead as consumers turn their backs on pricey smartphones – analyst

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, or TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor foundry company, is facing a problem with an oversupply of chips, and the company’s stock was down 6.3 percent on Friday.

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This “has never been higher,” Campling says, as quoted by CNBC. His company has tracked inventory data at TSMC for more than 10 years. The problems at TSMC will raise concerns about AMS, Apple’s key supplier for the iPhone X’s Face ID feature which unlocks the smartphone when you look at it.

The record inventories at TSMC show that Apple will not be producing more iPhone X models next year, the analyst said. “With the declines in iPhone X orders and the inventory issue at TSMC at record highs, which basically reflect a need to burn off inventory. Why? Because the iPhone X is dead,” Campling wrote, as quoted by the media.

“The simple problem with X is that it is too expensive. Consumers are turning their backs on high-priced smartphones,” he said. The device typically costs $999.

The analyst expects that Apple would produce cheaper models on new iPhones, which would cost around $500. The iPhone X received mixed reviews after being released in November last year. Face ID has sparked a debate about security and privacy. Apple Stock was significantly down on Friday, losing almost 3 percent, falling to $167.73 per share, the worst result in two weeks.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424820-iphonex-apple-expensive-smartphone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Space mining will produce world’s first trillionaire

The prediction is echoed by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who says: “The first trillionaire there will ever be is the person who exploits the natural resources on asteroids.”

“There’s this vast universe of limitless energy and limitless resources. I look at wars fought over access to resources. That could be a thing of the past, once space becomes our backyard,” Tyson said.

Origins of gold discovered in space

More than 12,000 asteroids, which are within approximately 45 million kilometers of our planet, have already been identified by NASA. Geologists believe they are packed with iron ore, nickel, and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on Earth.

Goldman has been keeping a close eye on improvements in mining technology and the trends toward lower costs for manufacturing spacecraft.

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower. Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion,” it said in a report.

Asteroid mining is mostly being led by private sector interests, but there’s also Luxemburg which sees massive opportunities and hopes to become a cosmic mining hub. Two years ago, the tiny European country, which is home to several communication satellite companies, established the Space Resources Initiative.

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It plans to provide $223 million of its national space budget in early-stage funding and grants to companies working toward space mining.

The government of Luxembourg is working closely with two of the leading companies in the sector – Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources. Both companies, which have been operating for several years, plan on profiting from asteroid mining. 

Luxembourg contributed an undisclosed amount of research and development funding to Deep Space Industries and inked a deal with Planetary Resources in 2016 for a $28 million investment in exchange for undisclosed equity in the company.

“Our goal is to put into place an overall framework for the exploration and commercial use of resources from ‘celestial bodies’ such as asteroids, or from the moon,” said Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister and minister of the economy.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424800-first-trillionaire-space-miner/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Terrorists attack Libyan oil pipeline, crippling daily crude output by up to 100k barrels

The National Oil Corporation confirmed the incident, without specifying its cause. Local sources, meanwhile, said that the pipeline was attacked by a “terrorist group.”

READ MORE: Disaster looms over Libyan oil

“An explosion and fire broke out as a result of a terrorist act in one of the valves on the 24-inch crude oil pipeline northwest of the town of Mrada, some 500km east of Tripoli,” the petroleum installations guards said earlier, as cited by Xinhua.

“The bombing targeted the same pipeline that was bombed last year, while some maintenance operations were being carried out by the company,” it added.

In a Twitter post, NOC estimated the loss at between 70,000 and 100,000 bpd and said its firefighters are working at the scene.

Back in December 2017, the Waha-owned pipeline was attacked and crippled in roughly the same area. It took more than a week to repair and caused an estimated loss of over $10 million.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424794-libya-oil-pipeline-fire/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

China no longer wants the world’s trash

The blacklist, containing 24 varieties of solid waste, was introduced by the Chinese government in 2017. Beijing said at the time that it no longer wanted to take in other countries’ garbage, so it could focus on its own pollution problems. 

It’s now adding 32 more types of waste to the blacklist, such as steel waste, used auto parts, and old ships.

China tells America to take its garbage back

“The new restrictions, just like the old restrictions, are poorly considered measures that will worsen the global environment and China’s competitiveness,” Adam Minter, author of ‘Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion Dollar Trash Trade,’ told CNN Money.

According to Minter, the measures create a new headache for countries that depend on China to recycle their waste. They’re still struggling to adjust to the ban announced last year and will need years to expand their own facilities, he said.

The move has already thrown the global recycling industry into turmoil, as waste piles up in developed countries, with nowhere to send it.

Earlier this week, a city in the Australian state of Queensland said it would start burying its mounting stockpiles of recyclable waste in a landfill.

The US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries said the measures announced this week will impact about $400 million in scrap exports from the United States to China.

“We remain concerned about the effect these policies have on the global supply chain of environmentally-friendly, energy-saving scrap commodities,” said the institute’s president, Robin Wiener.

The measures could cut Chinese manufacturers off from a cheap source of metals like nickel, according to Minter. “That move will raise manufacturing costs in China and will be passed along to consumers.”

China has been importing billions of dollars of foreign garbage every year, so the companies relying on that trade will have to adapt to the new rules.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424763-china-refuses-world-trash/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

WikiLeaks calls for Coinbase boycott after ban from cryptocurrency exchange

The whistleblowing organization claims the cryptocurrency payments processor is responding to a “concealed influence,” and is urging members of the digital currency community to boycott it.

READ MORE: Assange has ‘physical proof’ Russia didn’t hack DNC – Congressman

WikiLeaks Shop said on Twitter that the action was taken without notice or explanation. A statement from Coinbase posted by the Wikileaks Shop cites violation of terms of service as the reason for the decision.

“Upon careful review we believe your account has engaged in prohibited use in violation with our Terms of Service and we regret to inform you that we can no longer provide you with access to our service,” the message shared by WikiLeaks Shop reads.

RT has reached out to Coinbase for comment. Some social media users have already vowed to abandon the platform, accusing it of censorship.

Wikileaks Shop sells merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies, posters and accessories to help fund its operations. It accepts payment by several cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

Bitcoin advocate Andreas M. Antonopoulos noted the move shows “we have come full circle,” pointing out that for many people, interest in cryptocurrency was ignited when major financial providers boycotted WikiLeaks in 2010.

Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, and Bank of America all prohibited donations to the whistleblowing organization after it released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables online.

READ MORE: DNC lawsuit against Russia Trump promises ‘tantalizingly fascinating’ blowback

The announcement comes as the Democratic National Committee launches a lawsuit against WikiLeaks, the Russian government and the Trump presidential election campaign for allegedly conspiring to influence the 2016 US presidential race in a way that damaged the Democratic Party.  

WikiLeaks responded to the legal action by seeking donations from its supporters with the aim of launching a counter-suit.

Coinbase is no stranger to controversy itself – the cryptocurrency exchange platform is currently facing a lawsuit for alleged insider trading.

READ MORE: Major cryptocurrency exchange accused of insider trading

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424760-wikileaks-ban-coinbase-boycott/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Oops! I did it again… Another Deutsche Bank ‘fat finger’ mistake sends $35 billion out the door

It’s not clear how much money Deutsche Bank intended to pay, but the transferred sum is $5 billion more than Deutsche Bank’s entire market value. 

The bank said it was moving the money as collateral to its account at Eurex, a major international exchange focused on European derivatives. Investors are sometimes required to post more collateral as security for repayment.

Bank’s ‘fat finger’ slip-up transfers $6bn to client by mistake

“The error was identified within a matter of minutes, and then rectified. We have rigorously reviewed the reasons why this error occurred and taken steps to prevent its recurrence,” the bank’s spokesman said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank got rid of CEO John Cryan as part of a broad reorganization to restore revenue growth. The bank’s shares lost more than half their value under Cryan, who joined Deutsche Bank in July 2015. The bank has not made a profit since then.

“A bank mistakenly making such a large transfer shows its controls aren’t working adequately, and it’s embarrassing,” Dieter Hein, an analyst at Fairesearch who has the equivalent of a sell recommendation on the bank’s stock, told Bloomberg. 

“This kind of incident shows that the bank’s problems are so big that you can’t fix them immediately. Cryan failed,” he said.

In 2015, Deutsche Bank mistakenly paid $6 billion to a US hedge fund client in a “fat finger” trade on its foreign exchange desk. It recovered the money the next day, explaining that the multi-billion dollar mistake was made by a junior member of the foreign exchange team while his boss was away on holiday.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424751-deutsche-bank-billions-error/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS