China, Russia fail to sign key gas supply deal

China and Russia failed to sign a $400 billion (R4 trillion) gas supply agreement yesterday, despite growing urgency for the Kremlin to seal a deal as it faces economic and political isolation in the West over the crisis in Ukraine. Negotiators from both countries had been unable to bridge differences on price, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Shanghai, meaning that the contract was not signed yesterday as many in the industry had predicted. But there is still a chance that the two sides could agree this week. Despite disappointment so far over an energy deal seen as vital to both countries’ long-term economic interests, Putin did receive a rare nod of support from Chinese President Xi Jinping over the Ukraine crisis. – Reuters

Harare to limit bank shareholding

Zimbabwe has drafted a law that will prevent institutions from owning more than 25 percent of a bank without authorisation from the finance minister. Individual shareholders will be limited to holding 5 percent, according to the 2012 Banking Amendment Bill, a copy of which was obtained from Treasury officials. The bill will also prohibit banks from buying their own stock or making loans using their shares as security. – Bloomberg

Mboweni declines post in Parliament

Tito Mboweni, a former governor of the Reserve Bank, declined to be appointed to Parliament. Mboweni, who was nominated as a legislator by the ANC, withdrew his name from the list, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reporters yesterday, without giving reasons. Mboweni had been cited as a possible replacement for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. – Bloomberg