Topics to impress this week
1. Dollar shortage bites
It may be illegal, but stores in Zimbabwe now routinely offer several prices for goods. A 2l bottle of cooking oil sells for $3.20, but its price jumps to 4.50 in bond notes and $5 when paying by card, according to AFP. Currency traders will exchange $1 for 1.37 in bond notes. For noncash bank transfers, the traders offer 1.50 in bond notes.
Up to 60% of goods in stores are imported. And with the huge shortage of dollars, inflation on imported goods is spiking by as much as 60% a year.
2. People before profit
Puerto Rico has rejected a $1bn loan offered by a hedge-fund group, accusing it of trying to profit from disaster. Infrastructure was left devastated after hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the island. Most residents have no power, no food and no water, a situation that will require a more compassionate response — even from investors. Hedge funds which hold bonds in the local power utility offered it a US$1bn loan and a discount on a portion of existing debt. The scale of the devastation has led some to say the $50bn in debt owed by the island is likely to get wiped out.
3. Testing her Patience
Nigeria’s former first lady Patience Jonathan will go to court to protest against restrictions placed by the country’s anti-corruption body on the bank accounts of four companies. The accounts, which hold $15.5m, were frozen pending a money-laundering probe into an adviser to former president Goodluck Jonathan. The former first lady claims the funds belong to her, even though she is not a signatory on the accounts. She says authorities want to "disgrace, intimidate, dehumanise and ridicule her and her family, through sheer propaganda, sensational investigation and media trial".