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Macro and Micro News

Only an uptick in building, manufacturing activity can sustain this quarter’s higher BCI  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th November 2020 The Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)/Bureau for Economic Research (BER) Business Confidence Index (BCI) has notched up to 40 in the fourth quarter, from 24 in the third quarter. However, the BER questions the sustainability of maintaining business confidence at this level.  

Greencape highlights importance of green SMMEs in economic recovery

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th November 2020 Green economy organisation Greencape is drafting policy recommendations around development and support for green small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs), which is being informed by a support programme the company launched with help from the European Union (EU). Greencape had earmarked... 

Surging Covid-linked borrowing costs pose threat to Africa’s energy transition

By: Terence Creamer     24th November 2020 The surge in borrowing costs affecting most African countries in the wake of the economic and fiscal harm that has accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic poses a serious risk to the much-needed recovery in energy investment across the continent, which is set to collapse by 30% in 2020. International... 

Surging Covid-linked borrowing costs pose threat to Africa’s energy transition
IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol

Higher public debt threatens South Africa's financial system, SARB says 

By: Reuters     24th November 2020 A massive increase in projected government debt poses a "major threat" to financial stability in South Africa, the central bank warned on Tuesday, while problem mortgages were also a risk. South Africa's government debt is now set to hit 82% of gross domestic product this year as the Treasury... 

Sisulu hands over KZN bulk water supply scheme

By: Yvonne Silaule     23rd November 2020 Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, on Sunday, launched the uMshwathi Regional Bulk Water Supply Scheme, set to service more than 3 000 households in the areas of Albert Falls, Mpolweni, Nadi, Cool Air, Efaye, Kwazibusele, Ntanzi, Mtulwa and Mount Elias. The scheme is... 

Sisulu hands over KZN bulk water supply scheme
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

South Africa’s ability to tame wage bill uncertain, Fitch says

By: Bloomberg     23rd November 2020 South Africa may struggle to stick to a plan to rein in government spending by freezing public-sector wages, Fitch Ratings said on Monday. Finance minister Tito Mboweni has outlined a plan to pare the government salary bill, which has surged 51% since 2008, as part of an effort to start bringing... 

South Africa’s ability to tame wage bill uncertain, Fitch says

Wits encouraged by AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine results

By: Thabi Madiba     23rd November 2020 The University of the Witwatersrand said on Monday it was encouraged by the results of the Coronavirus vaccine jointly-developed by the University of Oxford and British drug group AstraZeneca. An analysis of the Phase 3 arms of the UK and Brazil studies show a 70.4% efficacy, with data from two... 

Wits encouraged by AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine results

Downgrades deal blow to economic recovery plan 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     23rd November 2020 The latest sovereign ratings downgrades imposed on South Africa have dealt a blow to the country's economic recovery plan and should spur government into action to address the issues raised by Moody’s and Fitch. Responding to the news that Moody's and Fitch have pushed South Africa's credit... 

Rand lifted by vaccine hopes, shrugs off downgrades

By: Reuters     23rd November 2020 The rand opened stronger on Monday, lifted by global optimism over coronavirus vaccines and shrugging off ratings downgrades that are likely to push up government borrowing costs. At 07:02 GMT, the rand traded at 15.3700 versus the dollar, 0.4% firmer than its previous close. The upbeat global... 

'Painful' downgrades will raise South Africa's borrowing costs

By: Reuters     23rd November 2020 South Africa's Finance Ministry said on Saturday credit ratings downgrades by Moody's and Fitch would increase the country's borrowing costs and constrain its fiscal options. "The decision by Fitch and Moody's ... is a painful one," Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in a statement. There is an... 

'Painful' downgrades will raise South Africa's borrowing costs
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Repurposing of Eskom power stations key in SA's just transition  

20th November 2020   Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn speaks to Creamer Media Editor Terence Creamer about plans by Eskom to repurpose and repower three coal-fired power stations that are due for decommissioning, why it is important for creating a just transition framework and the need for South Africa to determine... 

Repurposing of Eskom power stations key in SA's just transition
Repurposing of Eskom power stations key in SA's just transition

S African-Italian trade dips but remains adequate

By: Darren Parker     20th November 2020 Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, a respectable $1.4-billion worth of goods has been exchanged between South Africa and Italy since January, according to Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries (ItalchamSA) secretary general Pamina Bohrer. She explains that the bulk of this trade... 

S African-Italian trade dips but remains adequate
TRADE-OFF Since Italy and South Africa were both subjected to strict lockdowns, trade between the two countries is expected to be significantly lower this year

Stronger advocacy needed to protect European business interests

By: Darren Parker     20th November 2020 The impact of Covid-19 on South Africa and Italy has highlighted the need for strong action to ensure that European business interests are protected in South Africa, according to a statement by Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries (ItalchamSA) secretary-general Pamina Bohrer... 

Stronger advocacy needed to protect European business interests
PAMINA BOHRER European business interests need to be protected in South Africa

Partnership improves dry-type transformers access in Africa

By: Darren Parker     20th November 2020 Access to dry-type transformer technology has been boosted throughout Africa, following the partnership of South African transformer supplier Trafo Power Solutions with Italian transformer manufacturer TMC Transformers at the end of 2018. “The business prospects for TMC in Africa are quite good... 

Partnership improves dry-type transformers access in Africa
DAVID CLAASSEN Dry-type transformer technology is safer and requires less maintenance

SARB leaves repo rate unchanged at 3.50% 

By: Reuters     19th November 2020 South Africa's central bank left its main lending rate unchanged at 3.50% on Thursday, Governor Lesetja Kganyago said. A Reuters poll saw the Reserve Bank leaving rates unchanged, with 17 of 22 economists expecting the bank to hold rates steady after cutting them by a cumulative 300 basis points... 

Biovac celebrates local manufacture of paediatric vaccine

By: Thabi Madiba     19th November 2020 Bio-pharmaceutical company Biovac CEO Dr Morena Makhoana on Thursday lauded the commencement of local manufacturing of a six-in-one paediatric vaccine, saying through local manufacturing the company will be able to further strengthen security of supply whilst contributing to the local economy.... 

Biovac celebrates local manufacture of paediatric vaccine
Biovac CEO Dr Morena Makhoana

Financial constraints compel the CCMA to review operations and reprioritise spending

By: News24Wire      19th November 2020 Government-wide financial constraints have compelled the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to review its operations and reprioritise spending, the dispute resolution body said in a statement on Tuesday. This as the CCMA, as with other public institutions, is affected... 

New investment pledges of R109.6bn unveiled at hybrid investment conference

By: Terence Creamer     18th November 2020 Investment pledges of R109.6-billion were unveiled at the third South African Investment Conference on Wednesday, increasing the total value of commitments made since 2018 to R773.6-billion, or more than 60% of the R1.2-trillion target set by President Cyril Ramaphosa three years ago. Speaking at... 

New investment pledges of R109.6bn unveiled at hybrid investment conference

Ramaphosa stresses South Africa’s gateway-to-Africa role as he seeks to reignite investment amid Covid  

By: Terence Creamer     18th November 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa used the platform of the third South Africa Investment Conference to underline the country’s potential to act a gateway to the African market, as he sought to reignite investor interest in an economy that has been underperforming for more than a decade and has been... 

Ramaphosa stresses South Africa’s gateway-to-Africa role as he seeks to reignite investment amid Covid
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Five years before economy may return to pre-Covid levels, says Absa’s Gable    

By: Irma Venter     18th November 2020 It will, most likely, take half a decade before the South African economy returns to the level it was at the end of 2019, says Absa chief economist Jeff Gable. “And 2019 was a miserable year for South Africa – the economy grew barely 0.5%. On top of that we weren’t doing great in the previous... 

Five years before economy may return to pre-Covid levels, says Absa’s Gable  
Jeff Gable

Proposal to nationalise central bank sends 'negative signal' – Treasury 

By: Reuters     18th November 2020 South Africa's treasury does not support a private member's bill seeking to nationalise the central bank, a senior official said on Wednesday during the first day of public hearings on an issue that has rattled investors in the recession-hit economy. The bill to change the ownership of the South... 

Proposal to nationalise central bank sends 'negative signal' – Treasury

Renergen announces new LNG truck solution, adds another LNG supply route 

By: Simone Liedtke     18th November 2020 Emerging domestic natural gas and helium producer Renergen has, in partnership with trailer manufacturer Henred Fruehauf, developed a zero-emission solution for the cold-chain logistics industry. The solution makes use of liquid natural gas (LNG), stored at ultralow temperatures in the truck’s... 

Renergen announces new LNG truck solution, adds another LNG supply route

UIF to open last round of TERS benefit applications on November 23

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th November 2020 The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will open and start processing the latest and last round of Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) applications from Monday, November 23. Applications will close at the end of December. 

Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th November 2020 Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza and sugar industry stakeholders have signed the Sugar Industry Master Plan. As part of the master plan, industrial users and retailers have agreed to minimum offtake of... 

Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan
A sugarcane plantation

Hedge funds increase assets under management by 12% y/y

By: Marleny Arnoldi     16th November 2020 Against a backdrop of volatility in both the global and the domestic capital markets, the 2019 Novare Hedge Fund Survey has found that, after two successive years of steady decline, the industry assets under management (AUM) have increased to R52.8-billion during last year, constituting growth of... 

Municipalities have integrated 282 MW of embedded power and see benefits in embracing transition 

By: Terence Creamer     16th November 2020 A total of 29 South African municipalities have already approved tariff frameworks for small-scale embedded generation (SSEG), with 282 MW of mostly rooftop solar capacity having be formally integrated into municipal networks, the South African Local Government Association (Salga) reports. The... 

Municipalities have integrated 282 MW of embedded power and see benefits in embracing transition

BLSA calls on govt to do more to improve investor, business confidence

By: Marleny Arnoldi     16th November 2020 Although enabling more economic activity, as President Cyril Ramaphosa has done over the last week, is a good start, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso says South Africa still needs investor and business confidence to close the unemployment gap at least to pre-Covid-levels.... 

Investor conference to underscore S Africa as attractive investment destination  

By: Sane Dhlamini     16th November 2020 This year’s South African Investment Conference, taking place on November 17 and 18, will build on momentum from the last two events to highlight to investors South Africa’s investment opportunities.  In his weekly letter to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the third investment... 

Investor conference to underscore S Africa as attractive investment destination
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Consultancy laments construction sector decline

By: Mamaili Mamaila     13th November 2020 The construction sector experienced a significant contraction in terms of the change in value added to the gross domestic product year-on-year in quarter two of 2020, at -30.7%, compared to -2.2% in quarter one of 2020 and -0.9% in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

Consultancy laments construction sector decline
CONTRADICTORY MUCH? There is a paradox in the South African construction sector of large construction firms collapsing amid a housing backlog of about 2.3-million units

Pandemic challenges exacerbated for industry

13th November 2020 While construction sites were able to reopen in early May for civil projects, ongoing delays in terms of both the public sector being slow to change gears and client’s additional regulations around health and safety, have exacerbated challenges for both property development and construction... 

Pandemic challenges exacerbated for industry
COVID-19 CONUNDRUM The Power Group’s construction arm has been hit with challenges no one could have foreseen with Covid-19

Gordhan: Private equity partners will not take on SAA's debt or restructuring costs 

By: News24Wire      12th November 2020 South African Airways has received interest from several private equity partners and a transaction advisor has been appointed to engage with parties in a process which could be wrapped up either in December this year or early 2021, said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. The minister on... 

Gordhan: Private equity partners will not take on SAA's debt or restructuring costs
Photo by Reuters
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan

Glencore tests market for self-generation solutions at chrome, vanadium operations  

By: Terence Creamer     12th November 2020 Mining group Glencore has issued a pre-qualifying tender for companies interested in supplying ‘alternative green’ electricity and storage solutions to its chrome and vanadium operations in South Africa. In the tender notice, Glencore Alloys states that the generation facilities should have a... 

Glencore tests market for self-generation solutions at chrome, vanadium operations

Unemployment rate jumps to 30.8% in Q3 

By: Reuters     12th November 2020 South Africa's unemployment rate jumped to 30.8% in the third quarter from 23.3% in the second quarter, the country's statistics agency said on Thursday. The unemployment rate was artificially low in the second quarter because the statistics agency only classifies people as unemployed if they are... 

Unemployment rate jumps to 30.8% in Q3

Makwetu hailed as gentle, unwavering giant in the fight against corruption

By: Sane Dhlamini     12th November 2020 Business Unity South Africa (Busa) president Sipho Pityana has hailed outgoing Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu as a gentle and yet unwavering giant in the fight against corruption and maladministration, following the news of his death. Makwetu died on Wednesday, at a hospital in Johannesburg,... 

Makwetu hailed as gentle, unwavering giant in the fight against corruption
Kimi Makwetu

European firms say South Africa’s poor utilities deter investment

By: Bloomberg     12th November 2020 European businesses are delaying investment in South Africa because of poor power and water supply and the costs of complying with Black economic empowerment legislation, representatives of an industry body said. South Africa has suffered intermittent power outages since 2008 after the state... 

Sasol pins low-carbon ‘reset’ hopes on gas, renewables and green hydrogen  

By: Terence Creamer     11th November 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol, which is coming under increasing pressure to reduce its carbon emissions, reports that climate change is now “front and centre” in its unfolding ‘strategic reset’, which will involve a transition away from coal to gas, renewable energy and green hydrogen. In... 

Sasol pins low-carbon ‘reset’ hopes on gas, renewables and green hydrogen
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler

WEF seeks to start a multistakeholder dialogue on deep-sea mining

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     11th November 2020 A new way to meet the growing demand for minerals critical to electric vehicle, electronics and battery manufacturers could become commercially available within this decade, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). It notes that significant public and private investment have gone into investigating... 

WEF seeks to start a multistakeholder dialogue on deep-sea mining
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