Things Fall CFTApart?
Headline: The initial phase of the Continental Free Trade Area is set to begin towards the end of the year. The CFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade from around 15% of total flows to over 50% and be a key driver for continent-wide infrastructural and manufacturing development. However, its impacts will naturally vary between countries depending on factors such as their underlying competitiveness. Perhaps this helps to explain why several nations, including Ethiopia and Rwanda are voicing reservations about the current timetable.
Economics: Headline inflation continued its softening trend in Malawi in June, falling by 1pp to 11.3%. The headline rate has now fallen for six months in a row and helps to justify last week's 400bp policy rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Malawi to 18%. On current trends we expect headline inflation to continue falling towards 9% by the end of the year, with growth recovering to around 4%, although both outcomes hinge critically on the ongoing stability of the Kwacha. After rising through much of 2016 inflation in Botswana has stabilised at around 3.4%-3.5% in recent months, comfortably within the 3-6% target range. Today delivered another 3.5% print for June.
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