Americas: Peru’s mining sector, copper output at risk of further disruption due to unrest
Sectors: mining; extractive industries
Key Risks: civil unrest; business disruption
In Peru, the risk of unrest affecting the key mining sector will remain high over the coming weeks despite protesters reportedly lifting their 52-day-long protest at Southern Copper’s Cuajone copper mine. Local protesters had been blocking water supplies and a railway link to Cuajone since 28 February. On 22 April President Pedro Castillo’s government announced that the protests ended two days after he declared a state of emergency and sent the military to restore operations at the facility. Southern Copper stated that the disruption had caused export losses of over US$260m and US$400m in lost tax revenue. Around 20 per cent of domestic copper output was reportedly paralysed due to protests affecting some of the country’s largest mines including Cuajone and Chinese MMG’s Las Bambas, which was also forced to halt production on 20 April. Further business disruption is expected.
Asia Pacific: Indonesia bans palm oil exports; Chinese capital could be placed under lockdown
Key Risks: business and economic risks; FoP
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced a ban on palm oil exports to manage increasing domestic cooking oil prices. The ban – set to come into effect on 28 April – would place extra pressure on consumers who are already facing soaring food prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, could fill some of the gaps, although it remains highly unlikely that Kuala Lumpur would be able to compensate for the loss resulting from the ban. In China, there are growing concerns that the capital Beijing could be placed under lockdown in the coming days after several dozen COVID-19 cases were discovered, prompting mass testing and panic buying. The potential lockdown would further undermine an already weak consumption and demand, casting doubt on the government’s 5.5 per cent growth target for 2022.
Eurasia: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to meet Putin, then Zelensky
Key risks: war on land
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 26 April and with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on 28 April. Apart from Putin and Zelensky, Guterres will also meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba. According to Guterres’s spokesman Eri Kaneko, the meetings will aim at bringing urgent peace to Ukraine. Ukrainian officials stated that they were doubtful that Guterres’s visit to Moscow would end up with any result, adding that they did not understand the purpose of his visit to Russia. Kyiv has long been criticising the UN for a lack of action in Ukraine. On 21 April the country’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov accused the UN of being an ‘enabler’ of Russian war crimes. Guterres’s visit is unlikely to lead to a significant breakthrough.
Europe: US-led summit on Ukraine’s security scheduled for 26 April in Germany
Sectors: all; defence
Key Risks: war on land; trade
In Germany, a summit of NATO and non-NATO allies initiated by the United States (US) to discuss Ukraine’s long-term security needs is scheduled to take place at the US-controlled Ramstein Air Base on 26 April. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the meeting was not about providing security guarantees but about modernising Ukraine’s armed forces moving forward. The meeting comes as Ukraine’s Western allies have shifted away from supplying defensive weapons to the supply of long-range offensive weapons to equip Ukrainian forces fighting Russian and Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donbas region. On 21 April the US authorised the supply of 72 howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 72 tactical vehicles and over 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. While the precise outcome of the meeting remains uncertain, further Western military assistance to Ukraine is highly likely.
MENA: Rival militias clash in Libyan al-Zawiya city, damage oil refinery amid political crisis
Sectors: all; oil and gas
Key Risks: war; civil unrest
In Libya, on 22 April one militant was killed as rival militias clashed in the north-western city of al-Zawiya, after a relatively prolonged period of peace. The clashes came amid a deep political crisis in the country. The militias reportedly support opposing political factions, one in Tripoli headed by interim Prime Minister Abudlhamid al-Dabibah, and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk headed by the newly parliament-elected Fathi Bashaga. The eastern-based administration – which is backed by warlord Khalifa Haftar – claims that al-Dabibah’s reign ended in December 2021, when the planned elections failed to take place. Al-Dabibah refuses to cede power and dismisses the eastern-based administration. The clashes between the rival militias have damaged at least 29 oil facilities at the al-Zawiya refinery. The political crisis may lead to renewed armed conflict between the rival militias.
Sub-Saharan Africa: 21 people killed in Islamist militants attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso
Key Risks: political violence; political instability
In Mali, on 24 April six soldiers were killed and 30 others were injured when vehicles packed with explosives were simultaneously driven into army bases in Niono, Bapho and Servare in Segou and Mopti regions. The attack was claimed by Katiba Macina – an Islamist militant group part of the al-Qaeda-linked coalition Jama’t al Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), which means Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims. Separately in Burkina Faso, 15 people were killed and 24 others were injured when suspected Islamist militants attacked two military detachments in Gaskinde and Pobe-Mengao in the northern Soum province. Although no group claimed responsibility for the attack, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) is most active in Soum province. The uptick in Islamist-linked attacks in recent months has cast doubt over the Burkinabe military government’s pledge to contain insecurity.