Europe’s decision to ban meat imports from several Brazilian suppliers affects 30 to 35 percent of the country’s exports.

The European Union has suspended imports of Brazilian meat products, mostly poultry. This move has affected about 20 plants that have been authorised to export to the EU.

Europe’s decision to ban imports from several Brazilian suppliers has affected about 30 to 35% of the country’s exports. Agriculture Minister, Blairo Maggi said this will force companies to find new markets while officials work to reverse the measure.

“I was in Europe last week and we were waiting for a definition of how many, if any plants, were going to be de-listed,” Minister Blairo Maggi told reporters in Paraná after the measure was unveiled.

“We need to start talks to re-establish these plants as soon as possible,” he said.

Maggi has noted the Brazilian government would request that a trade mission be allowed in Europe to negotiate a reversal of the measure. He also adds that Brazilian companies will have to search for new markets to quickly substitute these exports.

According to Reuters, the ban also dealt a blow to Brazil’s largest chicken processor, BRF SA, which had 12 plants delisted by the EU after its involvement in a food safety investigation.


The 4th Yalta International Economic Forum gets underway

The 4th Yalta International Economic Forum is currently underway in Russia, Crimea; with more than 3 000 delegates from 60 countries in attendance.

The forum focuses on the search for ground-breaking approaches to solve the tasks of social and economic development and discussions around tried and tested world business practices.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Vladimir said that he hopes this year’s event will again stir the interest of foreign partnerships and lead to the launch of new projects in high-tech industries, culture, tourism and construction.

“The busy agenda of the forum has been composed so as to provide more information to investors about huge potential of southern Russia and favourable conditions for investing in its economy,

“The forum participants will have an opportunity to launch direct dialogue with Russian businesses and the heads of federal, reginal and local authorities, as well as to present practical proposals to improve the business climate and map out plans for strengthening cooperation.” Putin said.


Trudi Makhaya – President Ramaphosa’s new economic adviser

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the appointment of economist, entrepreneur and writer, Trudi Makhaya as his economic advisor.

Ramaphosa said Makhaya’s duties would include coordinating the work of investment envoys as they travel the world in the hope of attracting at least $100-billion (R1.2-trillion) in new foreign direct investment to the economy over the next five years.

“Among her immediate responsibilities will be the coordination of the work of these special envoys and a series of investment roadshows in preparation for the Investment Conference,” Ramaphosa said.

“The engagements that we expect to take place will also be part of a process towards the establishment of a presidential council on investment.”

Everything you need to know about Trudi Makhaya:

  • She previously served as an advisor and angel investor in young companies and held non-executive directorships at Vumelana Advisory Fund and MTN South Africa.
  • Makhaya was the principal economist and an executive committee member at the Competition Commission of South Africa from 2010 to 2014, where her role was to assess the competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions, analysing complex competition enforcement cases and appearing as an expert witness at the Competition Tribunal.
  • Before joining the Competition Commission, Makhaya held various management consulting and corporate roles at Deloitte South Africa, Genesis Analytics and AngloGold Ashanti.
  • Makhaya holds an MBA and an MSc in Development Economics from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes scholar. From the University of Witwatersrand, she holds an MCom in Economics, an honours degree in economics and a BCom in Law and Economics.

Source: African News Agency

China’s first quarter GDP grows 6.8%, slightly more than expected

China records a 6.8% economic growth in the first quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, a percentage that has slightly exceeded expectations and unchanged from the previous quarter.

Reuters spoke to analysts who shared that they expected gross domestic product (GDP) to rise to 6.7% in the January-March quarter, slowing only slightly from 6.8% growth in the previous two quarters.

China’s sustained growth shows that the economy has remained resilient even as Beijing kicked its war on pollution into a high gear during the winter months by cutting production for many steel smelters, mills and factories.

“The national economy maintained the momentum of steady and sound development. The economic performance continued to improve, and the economy was off to a good start.” said Xing Zhihong, a spokesman for the National Statistics Bureau.

The National Bureau of Statistics said on a quarterly basis, GDP in the first quarter grew 1.4 percent, compared with revised growth of 1.6 percent in October-December.

Source: Reuters


Three lessons that will change your financial situation in 2018

Our ability to manage money effectively plays a huge part in our lives. It can determine whether we spend much of our time in and out of debt, or worse still, having to rely on formal debt management solutions to get by. Yet despite the crucial role it plays, even basic financial literacy is not taught in many countries around the world.

In a recent global financial literacy survey, educated middle-aged males from developed countries had the highest financial literacy rates, with those from Scandinavian countries scoring particularly high. But what about those with lower financial literacy rates? What are the key lessons they need to learn to improve their financial situation over the coming year?

1. How to use short-term credit wisely
Short-term credit is one of the fastest growing financial products on the market today. The internet has led to a huge rise in the number of short-term credit providers, with loans available with just a few clicks. One of the biggest problems people face is understanding when it is and isn’t appropriate to access short-term credit and learning to differentiate between the various options.

As a rule of thumb, staying well clear of this form of finance is a good start, but unfortunately, life’s not always so simple. For those that do need to access this form of credit, understanding the difference between a good and bad debt and learning how to calculate the cheapest form of borrowing is a crucial lesson for 2018.

2. Better understanding your daily spending habits
Many people spend more money sustaining their lifestyle than they can afford, and this is one of the most common causes of debt problems. Reducing expenses was number 4 on the South African lender Wonga’s survey of the most common financial resolutions for 2018, and for good reason. Whether it’s going out to eat, having too many takeaways or spending too much on alcohol or coffees, many people are simply living beyond their means.
The first step to reducing your expenses is to understand exactly where your money goes on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Once you have a firm grasp of that, you can then start to cut out those items you can live without. Although daily spending tracking can be difficult to maintain, it is one of the most effective financial lessons you can learn.

3. The power of saving
Saving might not seem like the most rewarding short-term use of your money, but over the longer-term, it is the one thing that can help you achieve your goals and better your financial position. Saving is simply paying yourself first before you spend money on other things you might not need. The abundance of short-term credit options has taught people that you do not have to save for the things you want, but while borrowing might get you there sooner, it will always cost you more in the long run.

These are three really simple and incredibly important lessons that are often overlooked but which could help you improve your financial position in 2018.

This article originally appeared on the Brand South Africa website. Follow them on Facebook  or Twitter.

Important financial lessons Harish Hande learnt from an Indian street vendor

An Indian street vendor has shared his most valuable lessons about money with a social entrepreneur who is in the business of creating affordable energy solutions for the poorest people in the world’s largest democracy.

Harish Hande, co-founder of the Solar Electric Lighting Company (SELCO) has turned his business into an umbrella of organisations that addresses gaps in energy access through marketing, selling, installing and servicing products in homes, schools and health centres across India. Hande is a thus a front-runner in delivering “decentralised solar energy” to the poor in India.

According to Hande, Selco provided the street vendor with solar lighting that he could afford by paying a small amount every day, in turn helping to sustain the micro-entrepreneur, he said.

“The street vendor told me: I can’t afford 300 rupees ($4.60) a month, but 10 rupees a day I can manage,” Hande said.

An estimated 240 million Indian citizens have no access to power; apart from the millions more living with inadequate supplies of electricity from an unreliable power grid.

“The poorest spend a much higher proportion of their income on energy, because they can’t afford to buy solar-powered machines and lighting, so they keep using kerosene, which is expensive, dangerous and bad for the environment,” Hande added.

For more than 20 years, Hande has been trying to alleviate this by working directly with people in villages, towns and cities to determine the infrastructure and capital they need.

He also added that access to reliable energy is not just about providing electricity.  “It’s a catalyst for true democracy in India, for providing business opportunities. With reliable and affordable energy, everyone has the chance to run a business,” he said.

Hande estimates Selco has reached 7.5 million people in India, and the model is being replicated in the Philippines and Tanzania.

On Thursday, Hande received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Source: Reuters

China pledges to allow more foreign investment in financial sector by year-end

China has recently made plans to open its financial sector to more foreign investment by the end of this year. This comes as Beijing looks for ways to avoid growing criticism from the United States and other trading partners.
Governor Yi Gang of People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said the nation will allow foreign firms to compete on an equal footing with domestic companies in the financial sector by giving foreign banks more business scope in the country.
China promises to keep these plans that were publicly announced last year. The pledges include allowing foreign firms to invest in trust companies, financial leasing, auto finance and consumer finance.
The PBOC has confirmed that it aims to launch a planned trading link between its stock markets and London by the end of 2018.
“China will raise foreign ownership limits to 51 percent in securities, fund management, futures and life insurance companies over the next few months” said the PBOC.
The current ownership cap for securities, futures and fund management firms is 49% and the cap for insurance companies is 50%. China’s president, Xi Jinping also promised to open the economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars.
source: reuters

World Bank says SA could half poverty by 2030

The World Bank has declared that South Africa could more than half its number of underprivileged people to 4 million by 2030, but first the country must address corruption, get free higher education right and reduce policy uncertainty in its mining industry. These are said to be the short-term goals to improve the life conditions of the country.
“Solutions are needed to foster MTV because he inclusive growth, which in practice means improving the poor’s access to good jobs so they can fully participate in the economy,” the World Bank said.  
The bank has suggested long-term goals which in includes, reducing inequality levels by improving the quality of basic education delivered to students from poor backgrounds and reinforcing the spatial integration between economic hubs, where jobs are located and underserviced informal settlements. 
The World Bank mentioned that by 2030 inequality should be back down to its 1994 level, and South Africa should number 8.3 million poor people (at $1.90 a day), down from almost 10.5 million in 2017.
However, the bank noted that creating a new South Africa will take time and challenges are expected throughout the journey.  
“In this regard, continued efforts to effectively redistribute wealth to the poorest while protecting economic growth will need to complement the reforms discussed above to create skilled jobs for the poor.”

Brazil central bank tackles cost of credit with new rules

Brazil’s central bank has announced a range of new banking rules that aims to bring down some of the world’s highest interest rate by increasing liquidity, reducing funding costs and fostering competition in the financial system.

The central bank said these changes will take effect between late April and early May. These would return reserve requirements on savings accounts to levels last seen before the 2008 global crisis.

Central Bank Director, Otávio Damaso, stated that the measures created conditions for banks to reduce interest rates on loans, without mentioning specific targets.

The central bank defined rules for banks to issue covered bonds, a kind of deposit that could boost mortgage lending by reducing funding costs.

Credit Suisse analysts estimated that the extra liquidity could increase earnings at Brazil’s largest banks by 0.7 percent to 2.4 percent. Analysts also mentioned that the additional liquidity should bring down some interest rates.

“Demand for credit is still weak, especially on the part of companies, and it would be tough to see a really big change even with an eventual drop in (interest) rates,” said Roberto Padovani, chief economist at Banco Votorantim.

Source :Reuters

Russia – SA celebrates 1 year of visa-free travelling

It’s been one year of visa-free travelling for South Africans and Russians.

On 1 April 2017, South African and Russian governments officially introduced visa-free travel for their citizens to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This of course, only applies to the visitor’s visa and not intent to study, work or live in the other country.

Seventy two days from now, Russia will be hosting the Fifa World Cup 2018, so visa-traveling has a made it easy and more cost-effective for South Africans to plan their trip it a lot easier for South Africans to plan a trip without the concerns of incurring visa costs as an added hassle.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently reiterated the importance of the South Africa’s relations with members of BRICS, and upon speaking to Russian President Vladmir Putin, shared his excitement over the upcoming BRICS Summit, to be hosted by SA in July this year.

A statement released by the Presidency reads:
“President Ramaphosa said Russia remained an important partner to South Africa and Africa at large, as evidenced by its support for countries of the South in multilateral fora and associations such as BRICS. President Putin reciprocated by congratulating President Ramaphosa on his assumption of the Presidency and said the Russian Federation stood ready to deepen bilateral relations, notably in the economic terrain.”

“President Ramaphosa looks forward to hosting President Putin at the BRICS Summit in July, which will signify the beginning of the second decade of cooperation among this group of emerging markets which have a range of developmental advances and challenges in common.”