South Africa, Zambia strengthen ties

first_imgZuma and Banda also called for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be dropped. A SADC troika is due to meet to discuss Zimbabwe in January. President Jacob Zuma said in Pretoria on Thursday that the agreements would not only benefit the two countries, but Africa as a whole, as they would assist in the eradication of poverty. South Africa is Zambia’s largest exporter, and Zuma acknowledged the importance of increasing trade and bilateral relations: “Such warm historical ties must translate into stronger economic, social and developmental relations between our two countries,” he said. “We both welcome the progress being made to implement the agreement in the field of energy . We are happy that our energy utilities Eskom and Zesco are working well together to the extent that they are negotiating an agreement, which we hope will be signed soon,” said Zuma. Addressing trade decline South Africa and Zambia have increased their scope of cooperation by signing new agreements in environmental management and natural resources. The two leaders, who are at the fore of regional efforts to end Zimbabwe’s long running political crisis, said the sanctions were an obstacle to finding a lasting solution to the crisis. 3 December 2010 “Our historic relations, which were cemented during the difficult days of our liberation struggles against colonialism and apartheid, continue to inspire us to do more to address developmental challenges facing our respective countries,” Zuma said. Despite South Africa being the largest exporter to Zambia, the trade balance shows a steady decline in South African exports, which were valued at R11.2-billion and R7-billion in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Historic relations Zimbabwean sanctions The same decline applies to imports, as the statistics show R1.6-billion in 2009 and R1.4-billion in 2010. Zuma was speaking during a state banquet in honour of Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who is in the country for a two-day state visit aimed at discussing economic cooperation. The success of the cooperation will be measured by the extent and vigor with which the implementation of the agreement is carried out, he added. Source: BuaNews He said the meeting in Pretoria noted with satisfaction the progress made in many areas of cooperation since a South African delegation visit to Lusaka last year. The situation led to Banda making a call for action to be taken to redress the decline: “It’s something that concerns us, but we have agreed that there are ways that things can be done to address the problem,” Banda said. Zuma is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) official mediator in talks between Zimbabwe’s three ruling political parties, while Banda chairs the region’s special organ on security that oversees the mediation effort. The European Union, United States, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand have refused to lift visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials, imposed eight years ago as punishment for allegedly stealing elections, human rights violations and failure to uphold the rule of law. Last year alone, the two countries signed six agreements on energy, agriculture, health, trade, mining and diplomatic consultations, and Zuma said this was a good foundation on which to work together to fight poverty and ensure economic growth and development in both countries. Zuma and Banda further resolved to ensure that trade relations between the two countries were managed in a manner that benefited both sides.last_img read more

No change in soybeans, bearish surprise

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest U.S. soybean ending stocks were unchanged, that was a bearish surprise. At 12:10 pm corn is down 2 cents, soybeans down 11 cents, wheat up 1 cent. Before the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up 1 cent, while wheat was up 2 cents.There were minor changes in the world grain ending stocks. No surprise there.U.S. corn ending stocks were estimated at 2.320 billion bushels, down 35 million bushels. US soybean ending stocks were 420 million bushels, no change. Seeing no change was bearish. Brazil soybean production was estimated at 104    million tons, no change. Soybean production in Argentina was estimated at 55.5 million tons, down 1.5 million tons. Brazil’s corn production was pegged at 85.6 million tons with Argentina corn production at 36.5 million tons. Both were unchanged.Traders were expecting this report to be pretty boring with little changes compared to the January report. They expected U.S. corn and U.S. soybean ending stocks to decline ever so slightly. Brazil soybean production was thought to increase by a small amount with Argentina soybean production declining by several tons. Brazil soybean production was estimated last month at 104 million tons. Argentina soybean production last month was estimated at 57 million tons.With the Brazil soybean harvest in full swing the boats are already lining up to be loaded at export facilities. Brazil has a record amount of soybeans sold for February so it should be no surprise that a big number of boats are already queuing up for loading.There is an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Next Big Farm Bust Is Coming.” It does not paint a very rosy picture. We all know prices received for corn, soybeans, and wheat have fallen drastically since 2012. Meanwhile, prices for inputs have been flat with some small declines. However, those input price declines pale drastically in comparison to the prices received for corn, soybeans, and wheat. We continue to see analysts and economists state that the current farm situation does not match the extremes seen in the 1980s, however.Brazil could see normal rains in the six- to 10-day forecast. Argentina looks to have normal temperatures and rains in that same six- to 10-day forecast.last_img read more

More States Pushing Builders to Add Solar to Their Options Lists

first_imgLawmakers in several states have approved or proposed bills requiring builders to offer solar power among their upgrade optionsIf certain state lawmakers have their way, it might not be long before “solar power system” is just another, routinely listed item on homebuilders’ menus of upgrade options, right along with high-end finishes, expanded garages, and premium fixtures.A USA Today story mentioned four states where lawmakers are considering or have approved bills that would require home builders to offer options such as pre-wiring for solar and/or full solar installations. One state, Hawaii, has already passed a law requiring installation of solar hot-water heaters in all new single-family homes built after December 31.Jeff Lyng, the renewable-energy program manager for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s Energy Office, told the paper that a principal aim of a solar-option bill now being considered by the state legislature is to “standardize things – we’re trying to build Colorado’s infrastructure to be ready for solar.”The Colorado bill would require builders to offer a range of options, from pre-wiring to full installation, and inform customers that they can roll some of the cost of their solar energy systems into their mortgages, the story notes.California has already passed a law, due to take effect beginning in 2010, that requires builders to offer solar installations on homes in developments of more than 50 houses. A similar measure, applying to developments of 25 or more homes, was approved in March by New Jersey lawmakers. And, beginning last year, builders in New Mexico have been required to offer pre-wiring for solar.“We’re all in favor offering more options to homebuyers,” says Calli Barker Schmidt, director of environmental communications at the National Association of Home Builders. Schmidt points out, however, that it is in the interests of both builders and buyers to explain which power sources would be most cost-effective in a given area, since roof-mounted solar is more appropriate for some settings than others.last_img read more