Mobile money transfers dominate transactions

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THE following is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s economic highlights for the week-ending August 28.

Interest rates
Deposit rates: During the week, average deposit rates declined for all classes of deposits. Average savings deposit rates closed the week under review at 3%, while rates for deposits of one and three months tenors stood at 8, 11% and 9,11% respectively.

Lending rates: Commercial bank weighted lending rates for individual borrowers increased from 11,52% to 11,96%. Similarly, the weighted lending rates for corporate clients increased by 0,02 percentage points to 8,51%.

Clearing and settlement activity

During the week under review, transactions processed through the National Payment System (NPS) decreased to US$1 073,28 million, from US$1 093,63m in the previous week. Transactions processed through the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) stood at US$882,98m, down from US$921,61m in the previous week.

In terms of proportion, RTGS transactions continued to dominate the NPS, accounting for 82,27% of the total value of transactions, followed by mobile, 8,44%; ATMs, 6,07%; POS, 2,94% and cheque, 0,28%.

In volume terms, mobile-based transactions accounted 88,53% of total NPS transactions; POS, 6,07%; ATMs, 4,89%; RTGS, 0,83%; and cheque transactions, 0,14%.

International commodity price developments

The international commodity prices for platinum, copper, nickel and crude oil retreated, during the week. This follows concerns over China’s dampened demand outlook for commodities. Gold prices, however, firmed during the period under analysis.

Gold prices continued on an upward trend, rising by 0,6% from an average of US$1 130,76/ounce in the previous week, to US$1 137,49/oz. Prices rose amid concerns over China’s economic slowdown, a development which continued to boost the precious metal’s appeal as a safe haven asset. Reports that the US Federal Reserve may delay interest rate hike also supported gold prices during the period under analysis.

Platinum prices registered a 1,5% decline from US$1 004,10/oz in the previous week, to US$989,40/oz. The prices were depressed by subdued demand due to moderating global automobile production as well as weak demand from China.

Copper prices closed at US$5 000,30/tonne, a further 0,9% decline from US$5 045,60/t registered in the previous week. The persistent decline in copper prices was on account of subdued demand from China.

Nickel registered a 7,2% decline in prices, from a weekly average of US$10 326,00/t in the previous week, to US$9 580,50/t. The base metal price decline is largely attributed to slowdown in demand from China.

Crude oil prices continued on a downward trend, declining by 6,8% to US$44,62/barrel during the week under analysis. The prices slumped on the back of a global glut as oil supply continued to be greater than demand.

Equity markets

Activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) remained depressed, resulting in declines in both the industrial and mining indices during the week under review. The industrial index declined by 0,21%, from 135,82 points in the previous week, to 135,53 points. The mining index lost 0,51%, to close the week at 35,34 points. The decline in the industrial index was largely a result of losses in Pearl (12,28%), Padenga (6,93%), CBZ (5,81%), Turnall (5,26%) and Hippo Valley (0,85%). The mining index slumped due to a 20% loss in Falgold and a 2,86% loss in Hwange.

Market turnover value declined by 51,90%, from US$5,83m in the previous week, to US$2,81m. The decline resulted from subdued investor interest in the stock market largely due to deteriorating economic conditions. In terms of volume, however, shares traded increased to 24 991 562 shares from 18 589 275 shares.

Market capitalisation continued on a downward trend, declining by 0,22% to US$3,55 billion during the period under review.

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