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Russia Becomes World Fifth Biggest Bullion Holders

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Russia Becomes World Fifth Biggest Bullion Holders

Russia became the world’s fifth largest official sector holder of gold  as Western sanctions drove buying by its central bank to record highs in 2018 , its data showed on Friday. China dropped to sixth place as it reported an increase in gold reserves just once in more than two years, with its holdings rising to 59.6 million ounces in December 2018 from 59.2 million ounces in October 2016.

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With support from Russia President Vladimir Putin, the central bank in Russia has been betting heavily on bullion, often seen as a safe haven or a natural hedge against the dollar, with active purchases in the last 10 years. “It seems that there is an aim to diversify from American assets,’’ said a source at one Russian gold producer, referring to the central bank’s holdings.

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In 2018, Russia’s buying jumped further as holdings of U.S. Treasury securities were reduced after Washington imposed sanctions on Russian entities in April, the toughest since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Russia’s central bank is buying domestically produced gold from commercial banks.

Business News

Nigeria’s Borrowing Remains Relatively Low At 19% – Minister

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Nigeria's Borrowing Remains Relatively Low At 19% - Minister

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said Nigeria’s borrowing still stands at 19 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  She said this level is low compared to debt levels in Ghana, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Angola.

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The minister also said there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. She said the International Monetary Fund merely advised the federal government to remove fuel subsidy but assured Nigerians fuel subsidy removal plans are not even being considered at this time.

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On the question of the country’s debt level, the minister said Nigeria’s borrowing is still at 19 per cent of GDP.  She said this is still within the country’s fiscal responsibility act which allows a maximum of 25 per cent of GDP.

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The minister said Nigeria has the lowest level of borrowing compared to other countries.

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African News

Inflation Nightmare Returns To Haunt Zimbabwe

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Inflation nightmare returns to haunt Zimbabwe

The price of bread almost doubled for Zimbabweans last week, as the inflation nightmare that marked the rule of long-time authoritarian leader, Robert Mugabe, returns to haunt his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There have been warnings of the mental and physical toll the rampant price increases will have on Zimbabweans after the cost of a loaf of bread basically doubled to three and a half dollars, and a tub of butter shot up to $17 from eight fifty.

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Mnangagwa pledged to revive his country’s moribund economy when Mugabe was toppled in 2017 after 37 years in power.

But after the central bank unveiled a new monetary policy in February, introducing a new local currency, prices of goods and services have skyrocketed at rates unseen in a decade.

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The disparity between the official and parallel market exchange rates has been rapidly widening, triggering price hikes of up to 300 percent.

The chief of the Zimbabweauthoritarian leader, Robert Mugabe, says he is angry at the government for “putting on a brave face and giving the impression that the economy is on a rebound, but on the ground things are going in the opposite direction.”

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The crisis has brought back memories of a decade ago when hyperinflation peaked at a grotesque 500 billion percent, wiping out the Zimbabwean dollar.

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African News

Inflation Rate Jumps To Almost 67% In Zimbabwe

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Inflation Rate Jumps To Almost 67% In Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s statistics agency, said on Monday, year-on-year inflation rate, for March, has spiked, to almost sixty-seven percent under, the new base used to calculate the consumer price index. The agency noted that under the old basing system it used until February this year, the rate had shot up to a hundred sixty-six percent, confirming that Zimbabwe was already in a hyper-inflation environment.

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An economist, Steve Hankie, posted on twitter that the actual inflation rate was more than 200%. He said this is the second highest annual inflation rate in the world.

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Another economist, Kipson Gundani, says the current inflation figures were emanating from confidence deficit bedeviling the economy.

This new inflation rate may not be a shock to Zimbabwean. In 2008, the country’s inflation reached 500 billion percent, rendering the local currency worthless and eroding savings and pensions.

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