African exports to China fell by almost 40 percent in 2015, China's customs office has said.
China is Africa's biggest single trading partner and its demand for African commodities has fuelled the continent's recent economic growth. The decline in exports reflects the recent slowdown in China's economy.
This has, in turn, put African economies under pressure and in part accounts for the falling value of many African currencies.
Presenting China's trade figures for last year, customs spokesman, Huang Songping told journalists that African exports to China totalled US$67bn (£46.3bn), which was 38 per cent down on the figure for 2014.
BBC Africa Business Report editor, Matthew Davies said as China's economy heads for what many analysts say will be a hard landing, its need for African oil, metals and minerals has fallen rapidly, taking commodity prices lower.
There is also less money coming from China to Africa, with direct investment from China into the continent falling by 40 per cent in the first six months of 2015. Meanwhile, Africa's demand for Chinese goods is rising.
In 2015, China sent US$102bn worth of goods to the continent, an increase of 3.6 per cent.
Last year, South Africa hosted a China-Africa summit during which President Xi Jinping announced US$60bn of aid and loans, symbolising the country's growing role on the continent. — BBC AFRICA/GB
Zambia turned to South Africa last week for up to 300 megawatts (MW) of emergency power to ease an electricity crunch that has hit mining companies already grappling with a slide in global copper prices, its embassy said.
Energy minister, Dora Siliya made the request in a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma and his energy minister, according to a post on the Facebook page of Zambian High Commissioner to Pretoria Emmanuel Mwamba.
South African energy ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Zambia’s power grid can generate up to 2,200 MW, most of it from hydropower, but supply is often erratic and output has been hit by low water levels in dams stemming from a severe drought across the region.
The landlocked country, Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo, was plunged into almost nationwide blackouts twice last month. Bdlive/GB
Nigerian Oil Minister, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has said that he expects an extraordinary meeting of the OPEC oil cartel in "early March" to address nosediving crude prices.
"We did say that if it (the price) hits the 35 (dollar per barrel), we will begin to look at an extraordinary meeting," he said.
The prices have hit levels that necessitate a meeting, he told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.
The US crude oil price tumbled below US$31 a barrel Last Tuesday, extending a sell-off that has pushed it to more than 12-year lows amid a global supply glut, a strong dollar and tepid demand.
Saudi-led Gulf exporters within OPEC have so far refused to cut production to curb sliding prices, seeking to protect their market share despite a heavy blow to their revenues.
Kachikwu, who was president of OPEC until the end of December, said that member states differ on the issue of intervention.
"One group feels there is a need to intervene. The other group feels even if we did, we are only 30 to 35 per cent of the producers really," as 65 per cent of supply comes from non-OPEC countries, he said at the Gulf Intelligence UAE Energy Forum.
"Unless you have this 65 percent (of) producers coming back to the table you really won't make any dramatic difference," he added.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery was down around 2.8 per cent at $30.54 per barrel, in Asian trade last week.
European benchmark Brent North Sea crude fell 3.1per cent to US$30.57.
The last time prices were so low for WTI was in December 2003 and in April 2004 for Brent.
Prices plummeted 10 per cent last week on fears about the global supply glut and weakness in China, the world's biggest energy user.
Source: Graphic Online
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