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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday News Roundup

Story #1: Coal Shortages?

More than a quarter of Europe's energy coal is shipped from Richards Bay, South Africa. Anglo American, the second-biggest coal producer in the country, stopped five of its nine mines after state utility Eskom Holdings Ltd. said it couldn't guarantee electricity supply ... Eskom told miners that production may have to be curbed for two to six weeks, on the day that China, the world's biggest coal producer, ordered domestic shippers to halt exports next month and in March to ease shortages. In Australia, the world's biggest energy coal exporter, rains disrupted mining in Queensland and Macarthur Coal Ltd. said it may miss contracted deliveries.

XX My take -- sure, supply is part of the problem. But if the global economy is slowing down, why are countries like China running out of coal?

Story #2: China Infrastructure build-out

China Will Spend $62 Billion Building 97 Airports by 2020 to Meet Demand China, the world's second-largest air-travel market, plans to spend 450 billion yuan ($62 billion) building 97 more airports by 2020 to meet demand.

XX I have to think this is good for global infrastructure stocks, as well as commodity stocks.

Story #3: Why We Don't Invest in Zambia

Zambia Sets Windfall Tax on Mining Companies, Cuts Depreciation Allowance Zambia, Africa's biggest copper producer, will introduce a windfall tax on mining companies to enable the nation to derive more benefit from its resources, Finance Minister Ngandu Magande said.

XX We had an Australian stock that mines in Zambia in Red-Hot Global Small-Caps last year and sold it when the Zambians started making noises like this. I met representatives of the company in Vancouver last weekend and they told me, "oh, it's overblown." Su-u-u-u-u-u-re it is.
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