Vehicle supply deal lined up

German defence group Rheinmetall was set to sign a e2.7 billion (R39.4bn) deal in the coming weeks for the production of 980 Fuchs 2 military vehicles for Algeria, Handelsblatt newspaper reported yesterday, without citing sources. Germany said this month it would adopt a more cautious approach towards arms exports after a 24 percent surge last year fuelled a domestic debate on military sales. The country was the world’s third-largest arms exporter after the US and Russia from 2008 to 2012. Handelsblatt said the contract for the Fuchs 2 armoured personnel carriers was part of a bundle of deals with the north African country worth e10bn for German companies including ThyssenKrupp and Daimler. – Reuters


Central bank hikes key rate

Namibia’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in more than six years yesterday, to curb inflation and rising credit demand. The repurchase rate was increased by a quarter of a percentage point to 5.75 percent, governor Ipumbu Shiimi said. Inflation, which reached 6.1 percent last month, would probably average about 6 percent this year, Shiimi said. “People need to watch out when they take on new debt. With the increase in the interest rate, it means debt is no longer going to be cheap,” he said. Credit growth accelerated to 15.8 percent in April from 14.3 percent in December as consumers and businesses increased overdraft loans and funding to buy cars. Vehicle imports surged by more than 50 percent in the first four months of the year compared with the same period last year. – Bloomberg


Gas exports fall more than 80%

Egypt’s natural gas exports dropped 80.94 percent in April from a year earlier, according to the latest official statistics, as gas promised for export was diverted to meet a domestic energy crisis. Gas production also fell 14.66 percent in April compared with a year earlier, according to a report by the state-run Information and Decision Support Centre published this week. The report put the value of exports at $30.5 million (R328.5m) in April compared with $160m a year earlier. Steadily declining gas production and foreign firms’ wariness to increase investment have combined with price subsidies and rising consumption to create Egypt’s worst energy crisis in decades. – Reuters