TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Wednesday after reports of a shrinking trade deficit and unofficial job gains in the United States as well as signs of optimism in the European Union.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 49.94 points at 15,154.68, with gains in seven of the index’s 10 subsectors.Two positive indicators south of the border buoyed U.S. markets.Payroll processor ADP said that the U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs in May, up from 165,000 in the previous month.The U.S. trade deficit, considered a drag on economic growth in the first three months of the year, shrank by 19 per cent in April.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.13 points at 18,150.07, the Nasdaq index rose 33.97 points to 5,110.49, and the S&P 500 advanced 10.36 points to 2,119.96.Canada’s trade deficit narrowed to $3 billion in April, much larger than the $2.1 billion analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted but an improvement from the previous month’s record high.The loonie ended the day trading at 80.30 cents US, down 0.29 of a U.S. cent.Earlier Wednesday, the European Central Bank raised its 2015 inflation forecast from flat growth to 0.3 per cent.“People are more optimistic about Europe and the prospect that the U.S. isn’t going to be doing all the heavy lifting on its own,” said Norman Rashkowan, senior partner at Sage Road Advisers. “That’s helpful for Canada because our economy is sensitive to global growth.”The spectre of European deflation was worrying global markets, he said, but the threat seems to be receding as Spain, Italy, France, and others posted positive first-quarter GDP growth.On the commodity markets, the July crude contract was down $1.62 to US$59.64 a barrel.Rashkowan said oil seems to be stuck in a trading range between $50 and $60 a barrel as worldwide production remains high and the OPEC oil cartel shows no sign of slowing the pace of extraction.“People are appreciating that perhaps it’s going to take longer to get oil prices rising in a sustained fashion,” Rashkowan said. “Instead, you’re probably looking at an environment where they’re going to be sort of moving sideways.”The August gold contract fell $9.50 to US$1,184.90 an ounce. Rashkowan said gold too appeared to be moving sideways around a value of $1,200 as investors consider the prospects for growth in the American economy.The market seemed to be ignoring Greece’s Friday deadline for a 300 million euro debt payment, Rashkowan said, with traders betting that a last-minute deal will be reached to avoid bankruptcy or the country’s exit from the euro currency.
Since its inception in 1982, engineering project house TWP Projects has developed extensive operational knowledge of working on the African continent, mainly as a result of the company’s involvement in projects in the SADC countries including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Following its intentions to establish itself as a serious player in Africa, TWP says it has embarked on an aggressive campaign to extend its geographical footprint into Africa beyond the SADC region to include sub Saharan countries such as Mali, Guinea and others, as far north as Sudan. The company’s aim is to have more than 50% of its income generated from sources outside of South African borders, with Africa being the main contributor, through organic growth and acquisition.“We are very excited about the mining and infrastructure business in Africa,” says Serge Ngandu, TWP’s Operations Manager – Africa portfolio. “Africa has a backlog of construction and a need for development. Although there are challenges such as logistical constraints, difficult tax regimes and company laws, and language barriers, the continent also offers excellent opportunities. Our large Africa projects are managed from South Africa, but we will have a local presence where it will be beneficial to both our clients and TWP,” says Ngandu, who joined TWP’s African portfolio team in November 2012. Ngandu has more than 30 years’ experience in the mining industry across a range of commodities and has been in technical and executive management positions in various countries including the DRC, South Africa, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and France.TWP and its associated companies are currently actively involved in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, the DRC, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana, covering most commodities, including gold copper, diamonds, platinum, coal, nickel, manganese, chrome and iron ore. Some of the projects across the African continent include: Botswana (BCL Ltd – copper/nickel mine expansion project studies, Norilsk – copper/nickel mine expansion project studies, and the Selkirk underground mine feasibility study); DRC (Gecamines – technical audits of partnerships, Shituru 50,000 t/y hydromet replacement plant pre-feasibility study, Randgold Kibali shaft execution phase, AngloGold Ashanti Kilo-Mongbwalu gold plant execution phase); Namibia (Langer Heinrich uranium project studies); Tanzania (AngloGold Ashanti gold open-pit mine); Zambia (KCM 4 shaft design, engineering services, Chambisi SX plant, Teal Mining ARM/Vale joint venture mine planning); Zimbabwe (Metallon – gold mine rehabilitation and strategy compilation, Mimosa Mining PGE feasibility studies on Phase 5.5 Mtshingwe and Phase 6 North Hill, Mimosa process plant optimisation); Mozambique (various coal and gold mine studies); Mali (backfill plant).“By providing a comprehensive one-stop EPCM service; a large pool of commodity-specific skills in iron ore, copper, coal, gold, diamonds and platinum and others; proven skills to successfully manage the scope of work to conclusion as with projects already done in Africa; availability of an extensive infrastructure team; and first-hand experience and knowledge of Africa, TWP is well equipped to increase its reach into Africa,” says Ngandu.