Connect with us

Stock Markets

Ukraine war fuels food crisis in distant Africa

Published

on

4/4

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Maxwell Hwayo, 52, shops at a grocery store in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 17, 2022. Picture taken March 17, 2022. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

2/4

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean security guard Edwin Dapi was already struggling to provide for his wife and four children before a conflict 11,000 km (6,800 miles) away in Ukraine sent global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring.

Now his monthly pay of 18,000 Zimbabwe dollars, worth roughly $55 at the black market rate used at many informal markets, is stretched to breaking point.

At a supermarket in Mabvuku, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital Harare, the 46-year-old was fretting over his family’s next meal.

He reached for a 2-litre (0.5 gallon) bottle of vegetable oil, but at 990 Zimbabwean dollars it was more than he could afford. So was a 2 kg (4.4 lb) bag of flour for 390 Zimbabwean dollars.

“I keep hearing it’s because of Ukraine, but I don’t know what that has to do with us,” he said, scratching oil and flour from his grocery list.

United Nations agencies are warning that price hikes sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will worsen a food crisis in Africa, where tens of millions of people have already been plunged into extreme poverty by the COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, climate shocks and economic turmoil.

Last year, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for nearly two-thirds of the 193 million people considered to be acutely food insecure worldwide, a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises, set up by the United Nations and the European Union, said this month.

Once-prosperous Zimbabwe has struggled to feed itself since the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms to resettle black families, a policy championed by Zimbabwe’s late president Robert Mugabe during the 2000s.

More recently, its economy has been throttled by drought and cyclones, rolling electricity cuts, foreign currency shortages and runaway inflation.

The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) estimates that some 5.3 million Zimbabweans – around a third of the population – are food insecure.

To make ends meet, Dapi said he was making plans to move his family to his home village of Mutoko, some 140 km (87 miles) northeast of Harare. “I must reduce my rent and school fees because everything is going up, except my salary,” he said.

Across Africa, food insecurity is on the rise. More than 2 million children are at risk of starving to death in the Horn of Africa, where parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are facing their driest conditions in more than 40 years, U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths told donors in Geneva on April 26.

In Ethiopia, a civil war has pushed hundreds of thousands of people into famine conditions. Millions more are at risk in South Sudan, where a war that ended in 2020 caused widespread destruction, compounded by some of the worst flooding in generations. [L3N2NW2JD]

West Africa is facing its worst food crisis on record, driven by Islamist insurgencies that have forced millions of people off their land in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. The region has also seen worsening floods and droughts linked to global warming. [L5N2W23Z3]

The conflict in Ukraine is making a dire situation even worse.

The war has disrupted shipping in the Black Sea, a major artery for grains and other commodities, throttling exports from Russia and Ukraine to markets including Africa. Ukraine has said the area sown with grains could fall by around a fifth this year because of the war.

Abebe Haile-Gabriel, assistant director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its representative for Africa, said nearly half of the continent’s 54 countries rely on Russia and Ukraine for wheat imports. Russia is also a major supplier of fertilizer to at least 11 countries.

“This Ukraine war’s impact is overlapping with a crisis that has already been unfolding in some African countries,” Abebe told Reuters. “We have a very grim outlook going forward.”

‘DOUBLE JEOPARDY’

Even before the conflict in Ukraine, food inflation was pushing many African families to the brink. Global food commodity prices climbed over 23% last year, the fastest pace in more than a decade, according to the FAO.

Many of the most vulnerable depend on handouts from the WFP, which buys half the wheat it distributes around the world from Ukraine. Rising food and fuel prices have increased its monthly operating costs by $71 million – a 50% rise – since 2019, said Tomson Phiri, a global spokesman.

“WFP faces a double jeopardy: our costs are going up as the numbers of hungry rise,” he told Reuters.

Prior to the Ukraine war, the WFP faced a funding shortfall that forced it to cut rations in 17 African countries – including Zimbabwe, Chad, South Sudan and Ethiopia – and the gap has widened as donors turn their attention to the conflict in Europe, Phiri said.

Experts say the impact of grains shortages could be particularly harsh in North Africa, where countries like Egypt import up to 80% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine.

But even African countries that import little from them are being hurt by higher world prices for key commodities.

Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, was shielded from early impacts because millers there had turned to other suppliers after Russia increased taxes on its wheat exports last year, said Kennedy Nyaga, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association.

Kenya has sufficient wheat reserves to last until September but has already run out of reserves of maize – its staple – due to the drought, Nyaga said.

The association is pressing the government to allow millers to import 360,000 tons of maize duty free, saying prices leapt from around 2,800 shillings ($24.17) per 90 kg bag to 4,500 shillings since December.

Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture did not respond to requests for comment. Finance minister Ukur Yatani said on May 5 he was yet to receive a request from the millers for duty free imports.

STRUGGLING FOR BASICS

In Zimbabwe, households are already feeling the pain. About half its 15 million people survive on less than $1.90 per day, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency.

Households’ struggles to afford food were compounded when the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe hiked prices for wheat flour and the staple maize meal by about 15% in March, citing surging global prices linked to the Ukraine war.

The FAO says that Zimbabwe imports the bulk of its wheat from the Black Sea and Baltic regions, with Russia and Ukraine accounting for nearly one-fifth of imports last year.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in March the government had purchased sufficient maize and wheat stocks from local farmers in the 2021-21 agricultural year to cushion the poor against any food shortages this year.

But the millers association imposed even bigger price increases in April of 31% for wheat flour and 52% for maize meal.

The group says it is seeking alternative suppliers for at least 155,000 tonnes of imports needed until the next harvest in October.

As fuel prices rose and the currency rapidly devalued, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation jumped to 96% in April, up from 61% in January.

And with fertilizer prices soaring due to the disruption of exports from Russia, many farmers in Zimbabwe are struggling to afford it just as dry weather is affecting crop yields in parts of the country.

Fertilizer prices are up 30% over the past year, according to the Zimbabwe Farmers Union.

“If fertilizer prices remain at their record high levels, it will also dim crop yield prospects for the 2022/23 agricultural year,” WFP’s Zimbabwe spokeswoman Maria Gallar Sanchez said.

Officials at Zimbabwe’s information, agriculture and trade ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

Fertilizer firm Omnia Holdings, which operates in many African countries, said prices of potash, ammonia, urea and other key soil nutrients have gone up by 200%-400% since January 2021.

Small-scale farmers, who account for more than 70% of fertilizer consumption in the region, have been hardest hit, Omnia Chief Executive Seelan Gobalsamy told Reuters.

Boniface Mutize, who grows maize and soybeans just outside Harare, said he has started making his own fertilizer by mixing cow dung or chicken waste with zinc. But he said he needs ammonium nitrate, which is not produced in large quantities in Zimbabwe.

“Many smallholder farmers will not be able to come back next season to grow their own food,” he said.

($1 = 115.8500 Kenyan shillings)

Stock Markets

Dow Futures Tick Higher as Major Indices Rebound

Published

on



By Oliver Gray 

Investing.com – U.S. stock futures moved modestly higher on Tuesday evening after major benchmark indices rebounded from recent losses during regular trade, however, traders remain cautious of a potential recession after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted at a Wall Street Journal conference on Tuesday that “there won’t be any hesitation” about raising rates until inflation is under control.

By 6:45pm ET (10:45pm GMT) Dow Jones Futures and Nasdaq 100 Futures were up 0.1% apiece while S&P 500 Futures gained 0.2%.

In extended deals, QualTek Services Inc (NASDAQ:QTEK) popped 23.1% after reporting Q1 losses of 20 cents per share, beating expectations of a 48 cents loss, while revenue came in at $148.2 million versus $137.51 million expected.

Corporacion America Airports (NYSE:CAAP) lifted 0.2% after reporting Q1 EPS of $0.16 versus x expected on revenues of $258.1 million versus $226.74 million expected.

QuickLogic Corporation (NASDAQ:QUIK) fell 6% after report Q1 losses of 6 cents per share versus losses of 7 cents expected. Revenue for the quarter came in at $4.1 million versus estimates of $4 million.

Agilysys Inc (NASDAQ:AGYS) gained 11.3% after reporting Q4 EPS of 24 cents, beating estimates of 17 cents, with revenues coming in at $46.6 million versus estimates of $43.78 million.

Corporate earnings are set to continue on Wednesday, with Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) reporting results before the opening bell. Ahead in the week, investors will be monitoring fresh data for housing starts and building permits due out Friday morning.

During Tuesday’s trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 431.17 points, or 1.34%, to 32,654.59, the S&P 500 added 2% to 4,088.85 and the NASDAQ Composite added 2.76% to 11,984.52.

Major financial players were boosted after Warren Buffett’s conglomerate revealed it added a nearly $3 billon stake in Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) during the first quarter. Citizens Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CFG) gained 3.7% JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) added 3.3%, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) lifted 3.4% and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) gained 3.8%.

Travel related companies popped after United Airlines raised its revenue outlook for the second quarter on improved consumer demand. JetBlue Airways Corp (NASDAQ:JBLU) lifted 8.2%, Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:DAL) gained 6.7%, American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) added 7.7% and United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) lifted 7.9%.

On the bond markets, United States 10-Year yields were at 2.995%.

Continue Reading

Stock Markets

Glass Lewis backs McDonald’s directors in boardroom fight with Carl Icahn

Published

on

2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign with the logo is on display near a McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow, Russia May 16, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

2/2

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis on Tuesday recommended McDonald’s Corp (NYSE:MCD) investors vote for the company’s directors, dealing a setback to billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s efforts to replace two directors.

“The Dissident (Icahn) has failed to make a sufficiently compelling case to warrant the boardroom changes it is seeking here,” Glass Lewis wrote in the report seen by Reuters.

A representative for Icahn did not immediately have a comment.

The report came one day after Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis’ larger rival, also recommended that shareholders back the company’s nominees. McDonald’s shareholders will meet on May 26.

Icahn nominated candidates to the fast-food restaurant’s board to hold the company accountable for pledges it made a decade ago on sourcing pork.

McDonald’s says it has worked to change its pork sourcing. But it is behind schedule on a plan to stop buying pork from suppliers that confine pigs in small crates during pregnancy. Both ISS and Glass Lewis say Icahn has raised awareness for animal rights.

“We acknowledge (Icahn’s) efforts to seek improvements to animal welfare conditions is a worthy and noble endeavor,” Glass Lewis wrote. But the advisory firm also criticized Icahn, saying he had taken a “decidedly simplistic and myopic view of ESG concerns, with no substantive regard given to the economics of the Company’s business nor to the creation of shareholder value.”

McDonald’s said Icahn’s two nominees lack the broader expertise needed to serve on the company’s board. Glass Lewis wrote that Icahn’s candidates “lack the requisite background, qualifications and experience for serving on the board of a large multinational firm” like McDonald’s.

Continue Reading

Stock Markets

China Eastern crash probe eyes intentional action – sources

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rescue workers work at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Investigators probing the crash of a China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:CEA) jet are examining whether it was due to intentional action taken on the flight deck, with no evidence so far of a technical malfunction, two people briefed on the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Tuesday that flight data from one the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737-800’s black boxes indicated that someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the plane, citing people familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment.

Boeing Co , the maker of the jet, and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) declined to comment and referred questions to Chinese regulators.

The Boeing 737-800, en route from Kunming to Guangzhou, crashed on March 21 in the mountains of Guangxi, after a sudden plunge from cruising altitude, killing all 123 passengers and nine crew members aboard.

It was mainland China’s deadliest aviation disaster in 28 years.

The pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers and nearby planes during the rapid descent, authorities have said.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said on April 11 in response to rumours on the internet of a deliberate crash that the speculation had “gravely misled the public” and “interfered with the accident investigation work.”

China Eastern could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal said the airline had said in a statement that no evidence had emerged that could determine whether or not there were any problems with the accident aircraft. The Chinese Embassy declined to comment.

The 737-800 is a widely flown predecessor to Boeing’s 737 MAX but does not have the systems that have been linked to fatal 737-MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that led to a lengthy grounding of the MAX.

China Eastern grounded its entire fleet of 737-800 planes after the crash, but resumed flights in mid-April in a move widely seen at the time as ruling out any immediate new safety concern over Boeing’s previous and still most widely used model.

In a summary of an unpublished preliminary crash report last month, Chinese regulators did not point to any technical recommendations on the 737-800, which has been in service since 1997 with a strong safety record, according to experts.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said in a May 10 Reuters interview that board investigators and Boeing had traveled to China to assist the Chinese investigation. She noted that the investigation to date had not found any safety issues that would require any urgent actions.

Homendy said if the board has any safety concerns it will “issue urgent safety recommendations.”

The NTSB assisted Chinese investigators with the review of black boxes at its U.S. lab in Washington.

Shares of Boeing closed up 6.5%.

A final report into the causes could take two years or more to compile, Chinese officials have said. Analysts say most crashes are caused by a cocktail of human and technical factors.

Deliberate crashes are exceptionally rare. Experts noted the latest hypothesis left open whether the action stemmed from one pilot acting alone or the result of a struggle or intrusion but sources stressed nothing has been confirmed.

In March 2015, a Germanwings co-pilot deliberately flew an Airbus A320 into a French mountainside, killing all 150 on board.

French investigators found the 27-year-old was suffering from a suspected “psychotic depressive episode,” concealed from his employer. They later called for better mental health guidelines and stronger peer support groups for pilots.

Continue Reading

News

Stock Markets4 mins ago

Dow Futures Tick Higher as Major Indices Rebound

By Oliver Gray  Investing.com – U.S. stock futures moved modestly higher on Tuesday evening after major benchmark indices rebounded from...

World4 mins ago

U.S. Justice Dept requests Jan 6 committee transcripts -panel chair

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at...

Economy4 mins ago

Fed’s Evans backs ‘front-loaded’ rate hikes, then measured pace

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans looks on during the Global Interdependence Center Members Delegation...

Cryptocurrency4 mins ago

BIFI gains 100%+ after Beefy Finance adds new vaults and stablecoin liquidity pools

BIFI gains 100%+ after Beefy Finance adds new vaults and stablecoin liquidity pools Winston Churchill’s statement to “never let a...

Stock Markets34 mins ago

Glass Lewis backs McDonald’s directors in boardroom fight with Carl Icahn

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign with the logo is on display near a McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow, Russia...

Economy34 mins ago

Australian banks enter tech arms race as rising rates squeeze profit

4/4 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of a Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in Sydney, Australia, April 18, 2018....

Stock Markets34 mins ago

China Eastern crash probe eyes intentional action – sources

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rescue workers work at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from...

Stock Markets34 mins ago

U.S. accuses casino tycoon Wynn of acting as Chinese agent

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference...

Cryptocurrency35 mins ago

Commissioner Kristin Johnson to sponsor CFTC Market Risk Advisory Committee

Commissioner Kristin Johnson to sponsor CFTC Market Risk Advisory Committee United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Kristin N....

World35 mins ago

Pollution killing 9 million people a year, Africa hardest hit – study

5/5 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A boy swims in the polluted water of the Makoko community in Lagos, Nigeria March...

Politics1 hour ago

McConnell urges Biden administration to ensure sustained aid to Ukraine

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens as another Republican senator speaks to reporters following...

Stock Markets1 hour ago

Prominent hedge funds invested in Twitter before Musk unveiled plans

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo and trading information is displayed as a trader works on the floor of...

World1 hour ago

N.Korean leader Kim slams officials’ ‘immature’ response amid COVID outbreak

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks walk amid concerns over the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in front...

Stock Markets1 hour ago

Architect of Allianz fraud made $60 million as he lied to investors, U.S. says

3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Allianz Global Investors logo is pictured at the company’s headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany August 16,...

Cryptocurrency2 hours ago

Crypto users react to Terraform Labs legal team purportedly leaving company

Crypto users react to Terraform Labs legal team purportedly leaving company The ongoing saga with Terraform Labs, the blockchain developer...

World2 hours ago

Michigan judge blocks enforcement of state’s pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pro-Choice supporters of Planned Parenthood rally outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. February...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

U.S. sues to compel former casino magnate Wynn to register as agent of China

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference...

World2 hours ago

Burkina Faso rescuers find no survivors in flooded mine’s rescue chamber

© Reuters. A view shows one of the galleries during a rescue operation inside Perkoa mine where water is still...

Politics2 hours ago

U.S. lawmakers unveil FDA emergency funds bill to address baby formula shortage

2/2 © Reuters. Empty shelves show a shortage of baby formula at a Target store in San Antonio, Texas, U.S....

Commodities2 hours ago

Oil falls 2% on Powell comments, hopes for Venezuela supply

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks are seen at the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposit in the...

Commodities2 hours ago

Venezuela’s Maduro, opposition expected to talk; U.S. eases some sanctions -sources

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores dance during the May Day celebrations in...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

U.S. Senator Manchin backs Michael Barr for top Fed regulatory job

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is seen before the Federal Reserve board is expected to signal plans...

Sports & General2 hours ago

Dallas hair salon shooting suspect had delusions about Asians, police say

2/2 © Reuters. An image shows the suspect in the shooting at the Hair World Salon in Dallas on May...

Commodities2 hours ago

Oil Inventories Unexpectedly Drop by 2.4M Barrels Last Week: API

© Reuters. By Yasin Ebrahim Investing.com — U.S. crude oil inventories unexpectedly dropped last week, the API reported Tuesday, following a...

Cryptocurrency2 hours ago

Do Kwon proposes Terra hard fork to save ecosystem

Do Kwon proposes Terra hard fork to save ecosystem On Monday, Do Kwon, co-founder of the troubled Terra Luna blockchain,...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is poised to become the most valuable U.S. startup

3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off carrying three NASA astronauts and one ESA astronaut...

Forex2 hours ago

U.S. considering move to block Russian debt payments -Treasury

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian Rouble coins are seen in front of displayed U.S. Dollar banknote in this illustration taken,...

Sports & General2 hours ago

Key moments in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial

© Reuters. Actor Johnny Depp walks into the courtroom after a break at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax,...

Stock Markets3 hours ago

Tesla stops taking orders for Cybertruck outside North America -website

2/2 © Reuters. Tesla’s Cybertruck is displayed at Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah...

Stock Markets3 hours ago

Cisco Earnings, Lowe’s Outlook, Target Reports: 3 Things to Watch

By Liz Moyer Investing.com — U.S. stocks roared back after a strong retail sales report and reassurances from Federal Reserve...

Trending