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Economy News

Mapasa says BRL business rescue proceeding well despite some challenges

By: Simone Liedtke     Updated 3 hours ago Progress is being made with the implementation of the business rescue plan of embattled construction company Basil Read Limited (BRL), a subsidiary of Basil Read Holdings Limited (BRHL), “despite challenges”, Basil Read CEO Khathutshelo (K2) Mapasa tells Engineering News.. BRL operates in the... 

Automation reduces costs, increases productivity

By: Darren Parker     3rd July 2020 With companies that invest in technology and automation showing signs of being more adaptable and strategically well positioned to take advantage of an inevitable upswing in the economy, local manufacturer and supplier of cutting and welding equipment consumables as well as distributor of steel... 

Automation reduces costs,  increases productivity
ANDREW POOLE Companies which take the risk and invest are more agile, more productive and better positioned to diversify and access new markets

New approach adopted in uncertain steel market

By: Darren Parker     3rd July 2020 Steel merchant Macsteel has been re-evaluating its business strategy, owing to a steady decline in steel consumption over the past five years, with 2019 being a “new low” and the start of 2020 faring just as poorly – a situation that has been exacerbated by the lockdown because of Covid-19.... 

New approach adopted in uncertain steel market
BUILDING THE RIGHT WAY Macsteel aims to build its market share through strong, well-established and sustainable relationships with customers

Future order book to relief pressure for fabricator 

By: Darren Parker     3rd July 2020 Although the strategic decision to continue to pay employees full salaries during the Level 5 lockdown in April put pressure on its cashflow, steel fabricator and erector Betterect believes a healthy order book of projects for the next 18 months should ensure that the pressure will be relieved.... 

Future order book to relief pressure for fabricator
Betterect MD Nicolette Skjoldhammer discusses the company’s strategic decisions, facility upgrades and the concept of ‘Team Africa’. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 12.06.2020

South Africa records first current account surplus in 17 years

By: Reuters     2nd July 2020 South Africa recorded its first current account surplus in 17 years in the first quarter of 2020 as the trade balance more than doubled, central bank data showed on Thursday. The current account swung to a surplus of 1.3% of gross domestic product, or 69.7 billion rand ($4.12 billion), in... 

Nersa’s Gumede calls for overhaul of ‘outdated’ electricity tariff methodology 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2020 National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) fulltime member for electricity Nhlanhla Gumede has called for the regulatory methodology used to set electricity tariffs in South Africa to be overhauled, arguing that the multiyear price determination (MYPD) approach is not aligned with the... 

Nersa’s Gumede calls for overhaul of ‘outdated’ electricity tariff methodology
Nersa fulltime member for electricity Nhlanhla Gumede

Pandemic severely impacting on tourism, but there are positives, says WHO

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd July 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on tourism and travel in Africa; however, there are opportunities for the tourism sector in the medium term, and potential for recovery as borders start reopening, speakers said during a World Health Organisation- (WHO-) hosted webinar on July 2. WHO... 

Proudly SA launches new ‘buy local’ campaign

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 Proudly South African (SA) this week launched its new “Buy Local” consumer education campaign that will go live on various platforms, including television, on July 3. The campaign calls on all South African citizens to contribute to putting the local economy and South Africans back to work by... 

Nersa to provide concurrence on technology-specific determination this month 

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2020 The National Energy Regulator of South Africa indicated on Thursday that it intended providing concurrence this month for a Ministerial determination that would open the way for the procurement of new electricity generation capacity in line with allocations contained in the 2019 edition of the... 

Nersa to provide concurrence on technology-specific determination this month

Public Enterprises states that four SAA unions willing to accept severance packages 

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd July 2020 The Department of Public Enterprises reported on Thursday that four of the unions representing employees of State-owned national flag carrier South African Airways had indicated that they were willing to sign the voluntary severance packages being offered by the DPE to SAA employees. SAA is... 

UIF continues to accept Covid-19 TERS claims

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd July 2020 The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Commissioner has indicated that the fund will continue to accept and process Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) claims submitted for April, May and June as per the directive issued by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on March... 

Top 100 companies' value dropped by 15% by March, report shows

By: Schalk Burger     2nd July 2020 The Global Top 100 companies performed strongly from March to December 2019, increasing their market capitalisation (cap) by 20%. However, their market cap decreased by 15% from December 2019 to March 2020, a report compiled by professional services multinational PwC shows. These top 100... 

Construction Index tracks down, hopes for recovery pinned in infrastructure build

By: Schalk Burger     2nd July 2020 While JSE-listed industrial and construction materials company Afrimat's Construction Index (ACI) was down by 12 points year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, there is some hope of a recovery for the construction sector in government’s infrastructure-led economic growth recovery plan... 

CDC Group, Finnfund make $70m commitment to foster growth across Africa

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 The CDC Group and Finnfund have made a $70-million commitment to AfricInvest Fund IV, a generalist Pan-African fund aiming to foster the growth of African enterprises across the continent. Fund IV will invest in mid-cap and growth-oriented companies in sectors including financial services,... 

TFR implementing new online truck scheduling system at City Deep Terminal

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will implement the Navis Truck Appointment System at its City Deep Terminal in Johannesburg from July 6. The online truck scheduling system will not only regulate the flow of trucks to the terminal, but will also enable physical distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Global efforts needed to fast-track clean energy innovation

By: Simone Liedtke     2nd July 2020 A significant and concerted global push to accelerate innovation will be needed to pave the way to the energy sector reaching net-zero emissions, according to International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation. The report discusses... 

Local medical radioisotope producer continues exports despite lockdown

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd July 2020 South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) subsidiary company NTP Radioisotopes (NTP) has reported that, since the imposition of South Africa’s national lockdown in late March, it had been able to dispatch more than 120 shipments of medical radioisotopes to customers around the world. Both... 

Sasol confirms Rompco pipeline sale ‘well advanced’ as asset disposal process kicks into gear 

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol confirmed on July 1 that the sale of its equity interest in the Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investment Company (Rompco) and the Central Termica de Ressano Garcia gas-fired power plant, also in Mozambique, were well advanced, along with partnering discussions... 

 Sasol confirms Rompco pipeline sale ‘well advanced’ as asset disposal process kicks into gear

RBPlat opens 200-bed field hospital to support govt in fight against Covid-19 

By: Simone Liedtke     1st July 2020 Platinum group metals miner Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), together with the North West Department of Health, has officially opened the 200-bed Royal Bafokeng Platinum Field Hospital, in Rustenburg, at a cost of about R10-million, to support government’s already overburdened resources in the... 

RBPlat opens 200-bed field hospital to support govt in fight against Covid-19

Easing lockdown lifts South Africa's Absa PMI in June

By: Reuters     1st July 2020 South Africa's seasonally-adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) expanded in June as an easing of coronavirus restrictions lifted business activity and sales. The index, which gauges manufacturing activity in Africa's most industrialised economy, rose to 53.9 points in June from 50.2... 

Covid-19 had ‘significant impact’ on Long4Life’s businesses

By: Simone Liedtke     1st July 2020 The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and subsequent government prescribed lockdown has had a significant impact on JSE-listed lifestyle investment company Long4Life’s various businesses, CEO Brian Joffe told shareholders during an annual general meeting (AGM) on July 1. The requirement to close all... 

2018/19 audit of local governments paints ‘undesirable picture’, says AG

By: Simone Liedtke     1st July 2020 Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu released the audit outcomes for local government for the 2018/19 financial year, wherein 257 municipalities and 21 municipal entities were audited. This report is Makwetu’s last as his fixed seven-year term as AG comes to an end on November 30. 

Policy uncertainty in South Africa remains high, implementation risks remain

By: Schalk Burger     1st July 2020 The North West University (NWU) Business School's quarterly Policy Uncertainty Index (PUI) remained high at 57.4% in the second quarter of the year, an improvement on the 59.8% during the first quarter of the year. It remains at the highest levels since the PUI was launched in early 2016,  notes... 

Economic opportunity of South Africa’s energy transition akin to new ‘gold rush’

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2020 South Africa’s energy transition from coal to cleaner energy carries an economic opportunity equivalent to the discovery of gold in the country more than a century ago, a new South African National Energy Association (Sanea) report argues. Published on June 30, the ‘South African Energy Risk... 

Economic opportunity of South Africa’s energy transition akin to new ‘gold rush’

TIPS Tracker: The economy and the pandemic

30th June 2020 Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies' (TIPS's) 'Tracker: The economy and the pandemic' highlights important trends in the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa and how they affect the economy. In the past week, the contagion continued to spread rapidly in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The daily... 

Local productive capacity protection, demand stimulation will rejig economy, says Seifsa

By: Marleny Arnoldi     30th June 2020 The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says the 2% contraction in South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of the year is disconcerting, as beleaguered businesses continue to face headwinds. The federation explains that businesses... 

Vukile bullish about financial position amid Covid-19 

By: Simone Liedtke     30th June 2020 Vukile Property Fund has reported 3.2% growth in its distributable earnings a share for the financial year ended March 31,. CEO Laurence Rapp says Vukile had a “very strong year and has delivered a stand-out set of results” where operationally, the company’s portfolios in South Africa and Spain... 

Vukile bullish about financial position amid Covid-19
Vukile Property Fund CEO Laurence Rapp gives some insight into the company's South African portfolio's results, as well as the company's Covid-19 response. Video: Creamer Media's Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Creamer Media's Nicholas Boyd.

Tariff implications not yet clear as Nersa loses another court battle with Eskom 

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2020 Power utility Eskom has welcomed the June 29 ruling of the North Gauteng High Court to review and set aside three regulatory clearing account determinations made by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa for the financial years 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17. In his judgment, Judge Jody... 

Tariff implications not yet clear as Nersa loses another court battle with Eskom
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
The Nersa panel at the MYPD4 hearing in 2019

Transnet boosts capacity at Port of Cape Town to ease Covid-19 backlogs

By: African News Agency      30th June 2020 South Africa's state-owned rail, port and pipeline company Transnet said on Tuesday it had introduced a number of solutions for the operational backlogs at the Port of Cape Town due to Covid-19, including staff redeployment. In a statement, Transnet said to alleviate pressure at the terminals, 20... 

South Africa's recession deepens in first quarter as mining plummets 

By: Reuters     30th June 2020  South Africa's recession deepened in the first quarter of 2020, with official data on Tuesday showing that gross domestic product contracted 2% from the previous three months, led by declines in mining and manufacturing. The economy was already frail before the coronavirus pandemic hit South... 

CFOs concerned about global economy, PwC survey shows

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     30th June 2020 As Covid-19 restrictions continue to lift in some countries while others remain in lockdown, professional services company PwC’s latest 'Covid-19 CFO Pulse Survey' reveals that CFOs are most concerned about the effects of a global economic downturn (Africa: 51%; Global: 60%), the possibility of a... 

First quarter GDP falls by 2% as recession continues  

By: News24Wire      30th June 2020 South Africa's economy decreased by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2020, Statistics South Africa reported on Tuesday morning.  This extends the technical recession that the country found itself in in the last quarter of 2019. The release of Stats SA's latest quarterly GDP figures comes a week after... 

First quarter GDP falls by 2% as recession continues

Western Cape government calls on Gordhan to rescue Cape Town Port from Covid carnage

By: News24Wire      30th June 2020 The Western Cape Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, has called for Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to urgently provide resources to resolve the current operational challenges at the port of Cape Town. Maynier said in a statement that in recent... 

Western Cape government calls on Gordhan to rescue Cape Town Port from Covid carnage
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan

ArcelorMittal SA seeks IPP bids for roll-out of solar PV plants across operations 

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2020 JSE-listed steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has become the latest South African company to release a request for information (RFI) to independent power producers (IPPs) to build, own and operate solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants across its six operational sites. The group has... 

ArcelorMittal SA seeks IPP bids for roll-out of solar PV plants across operations

South African court sides with Eskom in clawback dispute

By: Reuters     30th June 2020 South Africa’s High Court on Monday sided with Eskom in a dispute over the amounts energy regulator Nersa allowed the state utility to claw back from customers for electricity supplied in the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years. Nersa’s 2018 decisions to allow Eskom to recoup... 

Eskom widens its funding search to sukuk market

By: Bloomberg     29th June 2020 South Africa’s indebted power utility Eskom Holdings plans to issue a R1-billion sukuk bond as it tries to diversify funding sources to reduce borrowing costs. Eskom has appointed a lead arranger “to work towards establishing time lines for the issue,” spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said in... 

Interest rate on $4.2bn IMF loan to South Africa will be ‘very, very low’ 

By: Terence Creamer     29th June 2020 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported on Monday that its funding talks with South Africa had proceeded at a “measured pace” owing to the country’s favourable access to deep and liquid financial markets, which meant that the negotiations had focused primarily on the terms of the funding... 

Interest rate on $4.2bn IMF loan to South Africa will be ‘very, very low’
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