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Business / Economics

WEEKLY ECONOMICS WRAP: Global Economic Developments Impacting Various Sectors

todayFebruary 15, 2024 1

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In a week marked by significant economic events, here’s a roundup of key developments across different regions:

Namibia: Plastic Bag Pricing Probe and TotalEnergies’ Investment Focus

The Environment, Forestry, and Tourism ministry in Namibia are investigating potential overpricing of plastic bags by retailers. Preliminary findings indicate that some businesses are charging between N$1 and N$5 per plastic carry bag, prompting concerns about adherence to government-mandated rates.

On a positive note, TotalEnergies is set to invest approximately N$5.7 billion in exploring and appraising activities in Namibia in 2024. The French energy company views Namibia as a significant focus, allocating around 30% of its exploration and appraisal budget to the country.

South Africa: Sasol’s Profit Forecast and Country Risk Atlas

South Africa’s Sasol anticipates a substantial 42% decrease in its half-year profit. Challenges such as weakened oil and petrochemical prices, along with ongoing infrastructure issues, contribute to this projection. Additionally, South Africa faces the prospect of increased social unrest, as indicated by a Country Risk Atlas released by Allianz, positioning the country at level 3 (sensitive) for global risk of non-payment.

African Region: Moody’s Downgrades Niger and Nigeria’s Power Sector Efforts

Moody’s downgraded Niger’s sovereign rating due to the accumulation of unpaid debts, reflecting increased credit risk. Meanwhile, Nigeria is addressing chronic power issues by settling outstanding debts of $2.16 billion to energy producers and tackling gas supply shortages. Despite having a substantial installed capacity of 12,500 megawatts, Nigeria currently produces only a quarter of that.

International: Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Share Sell-Off and Japan’s Unexpected Recession

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has sold approximately $2 billion worth of shares, following his plan to divest up to 50 million shares in the coming year. Meanwhile, Japan unexpectedly enters a recession, losing its position as the world’s third-largest economy to Germany. Weak demand in China, sluggish consumption, and production halts at a unit of Toyota Motor Corp contribute to the economic downturn, raising concerns about the timing of the central bank’s exit from its ultra-loose monetary policy.

These diverse economic developments highlight the interconnected nature of global markets and the need for stakeholders to navigate through challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing economic landscape.

Written by: Leonard Witbeen

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