263Chat End Of Week Business Round Up:

The week opening coincided with the start of business in the New Year and as expected, it opened on a lukewarm note as most companies are yet to operate at full throttle with momentum expected to gain in the coming week.

However, notable was the resurgence of the fuel queues and in particular, petrol shortages that have worsened following massive improvements in fuel deliveries during the festive holidays.

The fuel situation in the country remains highly precarious, with external developments from the US-Iran standoff likely to pose an adverse impact on the fuel price and supply in the foreseeable future as tensions continue to escalate, analysts have warned.

This has immediately cast a grey cloud on prospects for the year 2020, with analysts, however, hastening to point out that all is not gloomy as macro-economic indicators are flashing positive signals.

For instance, The World Bank in its latest semi-annual Global Economic Prospects forecast released this week signalled good news for Zimbabwe which despite facing massive headwinds is projected to post a modest gross domestic product (GDP) growth of at least 2.7 per cent this year.

The growth is mainly advised by tighter fiscal and monetary policies already implemented and some tax incentives Government has put in place such as foregoing close to US$ 1.5 billion in potential tax as a stimulant to business growth in the economy.

However, an impending drought remains the biggest elephant in the room for Zimbabwe’s economy.

On to the markets, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) as at close of day Thursday pretty much reflected slow recovery since the business opened this Monday.

Most equity benchmarks fell in the red. The All Share index retreated by 0.45 points (0.19%) to close at 233.35 points.

The Top 10 index also receded by 0.38 points a drop by 18% to close at 208.35 points.

However, the Industrials Index firmed by 0.25 per cent to close at 431.81 points with the ICT Index slightly improving by 0.02% closing at 430.55 points.

Market capitalization remained steady compared to the prior week at ZWL$ 30.198 billion with a turnover of ZWL$ 1.7 million.

Worryingly, there were no foreign buys on Thursday while foreign sells amounted to ZWL$ 773 190 reflecting lack of appetite from foreign investors in the local bourse.

On the financial side, the local currency witnessed a somewhat stable movement during the course of the week, steadily oscillating between ZWL$ 16.4 and ZWL$ 16.9 against the American dollar (USD) on the interbank market.

The week also saw, the African Development Bank and the government of Zimbabwe sign a grant protocol agreement for the Tax and Accountability Enhancement Project (TAEP) with the bank pouring US$ 10.4 million and the later committing $ 1million to the project.

The project is targeting strengthening public accountability and capacity in key institutions which include, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Auditor General Office.

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