Business

Africa’s richest man heads to ths US avoid currency fluctuations

2020-01-13 17:49

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, plans to take office space in New York in the US to help diversify his investments and avoid the risk of currency fluctuations on the continent.

The owner of the biggest cement company in sub-Saharan Africa will use the base and an existing one in London to become more global after the completion of a $12 billion (R17 trillion), 650 000 barrel-a-day refinery currently under construction in Nigeria.

“In Africa, you know we have issues of devaluation, so we want to really preserve some of the family’s wealth,” Dangote told Bloomberg TV’s David Rubenstein Show.

The 62-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur became $4.3 billion richer last year as his fortune continued to grow thanks to investments in cement, flour and sugar. With a net worth of about $15 billion, he is ranked the 95th wealthiest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His Dangote Industries conglomerate includes the Lagos-listed Dangote Cement and four other publicly traded companies that account for more than a fifth of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange. – Bloomberg

Global food prices ended the year at the highest in five years, propelled by the shortage of pork as well as rising vegetable oil demand across the world.

The 13% annual gain in the UN’s food index marks a turnaround from recent years, when grocery bills were kept in check by surpluses of grains and meat. Now, unprecedented pig disease outbreaks have rattled pork producers across Asia, and palm oil prices surged, adding to a rally across oil seeds.

The higher bills for consumers have stoked inflation in economies from Asia and Africa to South America in recent months, and the supply crunch for some commodities may extend into this year.

The pig virus situation in China “is still severe and complex”, and a race to boost herds risks is worsening the crisis, a government official said this week. Plus, a drawdown in Malaysian palm oil inventories probably continued last month.

Read: People are ‘just surviving’ as food price increases reach ‘crisis’ levels

Here’s a breakdown of some of the factors fuelling higher food prices:

Meat markup

The UN’s gauge of meat prices jumped 18% last year, the most since 2010. China’s pig herd, the world’s largest, has been cut in half as the nation struggles to contain African swine fever. Many neighbouring nations have also been afflicted by the disease.

This led to a boom in demand for imports from suppliers in Europe, a region also fighting to stop the virus from spreading. EU pork sales to China swelled 63% in the first 10 months of last year.

Vegetable oils sizzle

Rising biodiesel demand and supply concerns lifted vegetable oil prices from their mid-year doldrums. Prices for palm, the most consumed cooking oil, were a standout as Malaysian futures capped the largest annual gain in a decade. China’s shrinking pig herd also spurred soya bean processors to crush less for livestock feed, reducing local soya oil supply. Other oil seeds – from rapeseed to sunflowers – were also lifted by tightening markets.

Milk’s pickup

Dairy prices advanced for the first time since 2016, as milk output steadied across some key shippers. Drought and hot weather plagued producers in Australia, Argentina and parts of Europe, according to the US government. Plus, some US farms shut down after years of floundering prices. Import demand for cheese is also on the rise, fuelling gains for dairy prices last month. – Bloomberg


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January 26 2020