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Zambian Commodities Exchange Delayed by Legal Holdup

The Zambian Agricultural Commodities Exchange, which halted trading in July 2011, postponed restarting operations after the government delayed a law needed for the bourse to start up.

The holdup in the legislation needed to certify commodity warehouses meant the exchange couldn’t meet its previous target to restart trading by the end of 2012, Executive Director Brian Tembo said yesterday.

“We have no idea when government will implement the act,” which will introduce a warehouse certification and receipt system the exchange needs to resume trading, Tembo said in reply to e-mailed questions. “We were promised in the fourth quarter of 2012, but that has not happened.”

Zamace, a 15-member bourse set up in 2007, provided a trading platform for crops such as wheat, soybeans and sunflowers as well as cement and fertilizer until it suspended operations 18 months ago. Zambia is southern Africa’s biggest corn producer after South Africa and Malawi.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange said in December it hoped to start trading a dollar-denominated contract for Zambian corn in the first quarter.

The Zambia National Farmers Union, which represents growers, is completeing the purchase of a 20 percent stake of the agricultural commodities exchange, Tembo said. Talks with Zambia’s Lloyds Financials Ltd. for the lender to take 10 percent in the exchange are continuing, he said.

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