The Zambian kwacha has fallen to an all-time low weighed down by continued concerns over slowing growth in China, a major export destination for Africa's number two copper producer. Amy Pollock reports.
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Zambia's decade of economic boom is not looking so copper-bottomed. The local currency, the kwacha, has fallen to all-time lows against the dollar.system.scripts. It's been hit by power problems and a slide in the price of its key export. Financial analyst Maambo Hamaundu. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAAMBO HAMAUNDU, FINANCIAL ANALYST SAYING: "Mines had to drop down in production and this has not really saved the cause and of course the prices on the international market of copper have dropped and this is also not a motivating factor in terms of inflow of forex into the country." Copper export earnings dropped almost 30 percent in the first half of the year, compared with a year earlier. And three mining companies - including Glencore and two Chinese firms - are planning to shut down some Zambian operations. That will hurt Zambia - despite reassuring words fro China's ambassador (SOUNDBITE) (English) YANG YOUMING, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO ZAMBIA SAYING: "I am sure that there will be an increasing of Chinese investment in all areas of development in Zambia." The kwacha is likely to firm up - as Zambia's central bank has taken action to support it. But some opposition politicians say it's time Zambia stopped relying on copper. The government has slashed its growth forecast for the year to 5 percent, from an initial 7 percent. It may have to do even more in the wake of China's downturn.