Copper falls but mines still profit

Zambian mines were still operating profitably despite a fall in copper prices but could be threatened if the price dropped below $5 000 (R54 000) a ton, Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma said at the weekend. Copper markets have been edgy over slowing Chinese demand and fears that credit upheaval in the second-biggest economy could unwind financing deals using the metal as collateral. Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange has been falling steadily since January and sank to a 44-month low of $6 376.25 a ton on Wednesday last week. “Whatever they are making now is within very profitable levels. The worst case scenario they have planned for is falls below $5 000 and I don’t think prices will reach that level,” Yaluma said. – Reuters


IMF sees fiscal deficit widening

Mozambique’s overall fiscal deficit was projected to widen to 9.5 percent of gross domestic product this year from 3 percent last year as the Budget had to cover electoral reform costs, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday. After expanding about 7 percent last year, the economy could grow by 8 percent this year on the back of increased investment in coal and offshore natural gas projects, the IMF said, in line with the central bank’s forecast of 8.1 percent. – Reuters


Navy destroys illegal refineries

The Nigerian navy had destroyed 260 illegal oil refineries and burned 100 000 tons of contraband fuel, but critics say this targeting of small-time criminals fails to confront the biggest culprits – the politically connected criminal cartels that sell on the international market. Similar missions in the past have failed to slow thefts worth $20 million (R215m) a day. – Sapa-AP