Tag Archives: Markets

Markets: Centra Asia Metals fall on copper drop

JUNE 16 2021 (The Bulletin) — Copper prices crashed by around 10% after China said that it would sell off some of its state reserves, a move that analysts said was designed to suppress high global prices. This pulled down stocks closely linked to copper, including Central Asia Metals which produces copper from slag heaps in Kazakhstan.

Central Asia Metals’ share price was trading at 240p on the London Stock Exchange, a drop of 10.6%. This is its lowest level since mid-February. The region’’ other major copper producer, KAZ Minerals, de-listed from the London Stock Exchange in May.

Gold prices have also fallen but this had less impact on the region’s gold producers. Analysts said that this is was because Toronto-based Centerra Gold’s share price has already been dragged down by the expropriation of its main mine in Kyrgyzstan and Anglo Asian, which mines in Azerbaijan, is closely linked to the Azerbaijani government.

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets: Armenian dram rises 1% after rate rise

JUNE 16 2021 (The Bulletin) — Armenia’s Central Bank increased its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 6.5% because it said that economic demand was beginning to rise and potential inflationary tendencies needed to be curbed. This helped push up the Armenian dram to 513.6/$1, a rise of more than 1% and its highest level against the US dollar since mid-December.

The dram fell heavily after Armenia lost a war to Azerbaijan last year over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Before the war started at the end of September, the dram had traded at around 484/$1. In April, at its lowest, the dram had fallen to 534/$1. This means that it has recovered by 4% since then despite an acrimonious campaign ahead of a parliamentary election on June 20.

Most other currencies were steady with their values protected by a rise in the key interest rate from the Russian Central Bank. 

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— This story was published in issue 48 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 16 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets: Stock push down

JUNE 8 2021 (The Bulletin) — Most stocks pushed down after investors looked to bank profits after a general rise in stock markets across the globe. 

The biggest loser was Anglo Asian, the Azerbaijan-focused gold producer, which lost 7.8% of its value. Anglo Asian is notoriously volatile and has pinged up and down over the past few weeks. 

Other metal and mining companies on stock markets also fell, with Central Asia Metals, the Kazakhstan-focused copper producer, slipping by 3.25% and Centerra Gold, which is listed in Toronto, dropping by 2%. 

Centerra Gold is trying to stop the Kyrgyz government from expropriating its biggest asset, the Kumtor gold mine in eastern Kyrgyzstan.

On the upside, Kaspi.kz, which listed in London last year and has seen its share price more than double because of the success of its banking and marketplace app, rose by another 2.3%.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets: Georgian lari rises on strong econ data

JUNE 8 2021 (The Bulletin) — The Georgian lari continued to appreciate against the US because, currency traders said, stronger-than-expected economic data had restored confidence in the once-battered currency.

Specifically, traders pointed to year-on-year GDP growth in April nearly 45% higher than the same period in 2020, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The lifting of various restrictions and the start of the summer tourist season have also given the lari a boost. By the end of the week, it was trading at 3.1469/$1, a rise of 3.4%, to its highest level since September last year. Overall, the lari has risen by 7.5% since the start of April.

As for other currencies, they were broadly trading level with the Armenian dram nudging up slightly and the Kyrgyz som and Uzbek soum falling slightly.

The Kazakh tenge was trading flat.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets — Georgian stocks push on lockdown relaxations

MARCH 15 (The Bulletin) — Stocks in the region mainly pushed up with Bank of Georgia, listed on the London Stock Exchange, recording a rise of more than 10%. Its share price has been volatile over the past few weeks with results highlighting the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on profits, although in a  later statement the bank said that it was looking forward to a far better 2021.

Georgia Capital, the beer-to-healthcare conglomerate, also saw its share price increase, pushed up by a relaxation in coronavirus pandemic conditions and what analysts said were signs of an economic bounce back. 

The region’s metal producers saw their share price slide slightly. a consequence of some profit-taking.

Kaspi Bank, the Kazakh fintech stock and one of the current stars of the London Stock Exchange, saw its share price rise by another 0.9%, continuing its strong run.

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— This story was published in issue 475 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 15 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets — Currencies steady despite political turbulence

MARCH 15 (The Bulletin) — Currency markets in Central Asia and the South Caucasus were once again subdued. The Armenian dram continued to slip slightly, down 0.2%,  dragged down by its protracted post-war political crisis. It lost a war against Azerbaijan for control of Nagorno-Karabakh in November last year and PM Nikol Pashinyan has been fending off calls to resign ever since.

The Armenian Central Bank has said that it will do all it can to prop up the currency and analysts have said that its sales of US dollar reserves has stemmed a run on the dram.

In neighbouring Georgia, which has also been convulsed by political instability, the Georgian lari was steady at 3.3141/$1. An intervention by the European Union, which is trying to mediate between opposition forces and government, has given the market hope that the political standoff will end. 

Other currencies were flat, with the Uzbek soum trading slightly down.

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— This story was published in issue 475 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 15 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets — Kazakh tenge rebounds slightly

FEB. 11 2021 (The Bulletin) —  The Kazakh tenge was the biggest winner over the past week, rising by 1.3% to 418/$1, essentially regaining its losses of the previous week. The tenge has been trading in a range of between 415 and 430 to $1 since the middle of last year. 

Across the Caspian Sea to the region’s other heavily traded currency, the Georgian lari, the Central Bank there kept interest rates steady because it said that inflation had slowed. This was in-line with other Central Banks across the region but it still disappointed the markets and the Georgian lari slipped slightly in value. 

Away from the lari and the tenge, the Armenian dropped nearly 1%, despite a small increase in rates by the Central Bank which has signalled that it wants to strengthen its currency. The dram has been under pressure since Armenia lost a war against Azerbaijan last year over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In November, it was valued at 490/$1.

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— This story was first published in issue 471 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets: Shares in region push up

FEB. 11 2021 (The Bulletin) —  Shares in companies in the South Caucasus and Central Asia region tracked commodity prices, pushing up to new highs. Commodity prices have remained strong throughout the pandemic, supporting mining companies. With the exception of Bank of Georgia, Georgia Capital, TBC Bank and Kaspi, the stocks tracked in the region are all miners.

The share price of KAZ Minerals, the London-listed copper producer, pushed up to near 810p, a 2-1/2 year high, already oustripping an offer of 780p per share that a Kazakhstan-funded group of private investors have offered shareholders. And their offer was an increase on the 640p that they had originally offered shareholders in November. In March last year, KAZ Minerals’ shares had hit a low of 300p.  The only stock that didn’t push up in value was Anglo Asian. Analysts said that this was because of its surge already this year.

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— This story was first published in issue 471 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets — Armenian dram recovers post-war losses

JAN. 22 2021 (The Bulletin) — Currencies in the region traded broadly flat over the past week, reflecting a slow domestic week while most attention was focused on the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the United States’ 46th  president.

Specifically, the Armenian dram rose by 1.2%, reversing some of the steep loses it has suffered since a war broke out with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Across the Caspian Sea, The Kazakh som inched up and the Uzbek soum moved down slightly.

Most Central Banks have been selling US dollar reserves to keep their currencies propped. up. In two press releases on Jan. 19 and Jan. 21, the Azerbaijani Central Bank said that it sold $66.4m and $67.4m. Azerbaijan maintains one of the tightest US dollar currency pegs in the region. In 2015, it devalued the manat twice, leaving psychological scars and weakening the reputation of the government. Commentators said that the authorities wanted to avoid a repeat of this.

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— This story was first published in issue 469 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Markets — Georgian banks wobble on coronavirus impact assessment

JAN. 22 2021 (The Bulletin) — Anglo Asian Mining’s share price continues to surge with better-than-expected results and news of new finds. The company, which is part owned by the Azerbaijani government is also one of the winners of a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh as it has been promised new gold mine concessions.

Far less buoyant are banking stocks in Georgia with both Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank trading down. This follows a downgrade by the Fitch ratings agency of the Georgian banking sector because of the impact of the coronavirus.

Another stock that has traded down recently is Kaspi, the Kazakh company that owns Kaspi bank. Analysts said that another 5% fall in its share price was a reflection of concern over the durability of the company’s app, on which much of its share price is built. It has been hit by a handful of glitches.

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— This story was first published in issue 469 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021