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Trade News

Kenyan sports minister Mohamed to bid for top WTO job

By: Reuters     8th July 2020 Kenya's sports and culture minister Amina Mohamed will run to be the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a spokesperson said on Wednesday and a WTO official confirmed. "For Amina Mohamed, yes we can confirm that we received her nomination from Kenya late yesterday," a WTO... 

Tribunal fines Dis-Chem R1.2m for excessive pricing of face masks

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     7th July 2020 The Competition Tribunal has ordered pharmacy group Dis-Chem Pharmacies to pay an administrative penalty of R1.2-million for allegedly charging excessive prices for surgical face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. The tribunal says Dis-Chem contravened Section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act in... 

Roles of govt, business in restarting economy need clearer definition, says BLSA

By: Donna Slater     6th July 2020 In her weekly newsletter, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso says a clearer perspective of the roles and responsibilities of business and government needs to be established as the country grapples with restarting its economy. She notes that, on one level, there are common... 

Roles of govt, business in restarting economy need clearer definition, says BLSA
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso

South African think tank joins overseas partners in condemning China over Hong Kong

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd July 2020 South African think tank the Free Market Foundation (FMF) has joined 36 other such institutions, spread across 35 countries and territories, in releasing an open letter condemning the actions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government regarding Hong Kong. The think tanks form the Economic... 

Tribunal confirms two more consent agreements for excessive pricing

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     3rd July 2020 The Competition Tribunal has confirmed two further consent agreements relating to Covid-19 excessive pricing complaints. This brings the total number of consent agreements, confirmed as orders of the tribunal since April to 20. 

Academy attains artisan training certification

By: Mamaili Mamaila     3rd July 2020 The Lesedi Skills Academy received its Trade Test Centre certification from the National Artisan Moderation Body, which enables the academy to perform trade testing of mechanical artisans. 

Academy attains artisan training certification
NICKY VAN DER POEL Skills development and practical experience are critical requirements that enable youth to enter the formal job market

Future order book to relieve 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 relieve 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... 

AMSA clarifies details of safeguard application for structural steel products

By: Schalk Burger     2nd July 2020 ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) on July 1 said it had, in collaboration with Evraz Highveld Steel, applied for safeguards on structural steel products produced at the Highveld Structural Mill, being the only producer of these products in the country. AMSA emphasised that it haD not approached... 

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... 

Hudaco decides against interim dividend to preserve liquidity

By: Donna Slater     26th June 2020 Automotive aftermarket, industrial and electronic consumables distributor Hudaco Industries has decided to not declare an interim dividend, to preserve liquidity, as a result of the overwhelming effect Covid-19 has had on its business. The group on June 26 reported headline earnings of... 

New date, adjusted agenda for Manufacturing Indaba

By: Darren Parker     26th June 2020 This year’s Manufacturing Indaba has been rescheduled to take place on December 9 and 10 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Gauteng, as a result of the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown imposed on South Africa by government.  The event was originally slated to take place on June 9... 

New date, adjusted agenda  for Manufacturing Indaba
LIZ HART Job retention and business sustainability are critical aspects facing many manufacturers.

Welding institute championing training initiative

By: Mamaili Mamaila     19th June 2020 The Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) is championing work-based apprenticeship learning for the welding industry through the SAIW Foundation, and the Quality Council for Trade and Occupation (QCTO). 

Welding institute championing training initiative
OPEN UP THE INDUSTRY The noticeable lack of apprenticeship opportunities is regarded as one of the main obstacles facing artisan learners in South Africa

Supplier offers tailor-made welding materials

By: Mamaili Mamaila     19th June 2020 Industrial equipment supplier INDUSTRI Tools & Equipment’s manufacturing division offers a range of custom-made industrial materials, including welding screens, strip curtains, fire blankets, spill mats, tarpaulins and dam liners. 

Supplier offers tailor-made welding materials
OVER-PROTECTIVE INDUSTRI Tools & Equipment’s locally manufactured welding safety curtain and screen products are used in conjunction with other protective measures

Mavuso laments all-time low in business confidence

By: Donna Slater     15th June 2020 Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso says business confidence in South Africa is destroyed. In a weekly newsletter, she points out that the latest Rand Merchant Bank/Bureau of Economic Research business confidence index shows that 95% of businesses are dissatisfied with... 

Wholesaler to supply hand sanitiser to NPOs as settlement for excessive pricing

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     12th June 2020 The Competition Tribunal says a wholesaler based in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, Samys Wholesalers, has admitted to charging excessive prices for 50 mℓ and 200 mℓ bottles of hand sanitisers in March. The admission forms part of a consent agreement between the wholesaler and the Competition... 

Covid-19 compounds challenges in Africa

By: Tracy Hancock     12th June 2020 The legislation put in place amid the Covid-19 pandemic is compounding the “exceptionally challenging” business environment already faced by companies when operating in Africa, where each country presents its own challenges, says Macsteel Exports senior branch manager Adrian Isemonger. He... 

Covid-19 compounds challenges in Africa
AFRICAN REACH Macsteel Exports supplies sub-Saharan Africa with the broadest range of carbon steel, stainless steel, specialty steels, aluminum products and value-added processes to all industry sectors

Africa still viable for business

By: Tracy Hancock     12th June 2020 It is possible to work in most African countries, provided there is an investor-friendly fiscal regime, the correct asset, a diverse management team and a flexible execution strategy, says mining consultancy Madini’s Andries Cilliers. Madini has supported African mining projects for the past 20... 

Africa still viable for business
Photo by Credit: Alufer Mining
GUINEA-FOCUSED Madini is focused on Guinea, where it has been involved from first drill hole through to production at Alufer Mining’s Bel Air Mining bauxite project

African supply chains can unlock sustained economic growth post pandemic

12th June 2020 The current Covid19-related economic challenges, locally and throughout Africa, starkly highlight the need for pan-African companies and governments to support African supply chains and,  in so doing, boost economic activity on the continent. This can be achieved by procuring the production of... 

International trade declines significantly

By: Donna Slater     11th June 2020 While global trade was already slowing down prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) states that economic and social disruptions brought about by Covid-19 are resulting in a dramatic decline in trade. As laid out in Unctad’s global trade... 

Future trends report points to rapidly changing business environment

By: Donna Slater     11th June 2020 Progressing from Covid-19 will require a realignment of business fundamentals, with increased demand for products and services consumers find meaningful and socially and environmentally responsible, says professional services firm Accenture Interactive’s design and innovation practice Fjord.... 

Fasa calls for franchise industry to respond to proposed Franchise Code

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th June 2020 From negotiating rental relief with landlords and royalty fees with franchisors to asking for relaxed loan repayments with banks, franchise operators continue their battle to survive the Covid-19 lockdown as trade restarts under Level 3 for some franchise sectors but crippling restrictions remain... 

Investment summit to go virtual

By: Donna Slater     10th June 2020 In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the forced cancelation of mass gatherings, the South African Innovation Summit (SAIS) will be presented in a new and virtual way this year, with the first ever digital SA Innovation Summit due to be held from September 30 to October 1. The SAIS is a major... 

Coega SEZ faces juggling act amid Covid-19-impacted business environment

By: Donna Slater     9th June 2020 Special economic zone (SEZ) operator, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), like many other SEZs, is facing an unprecedented operating environment with some of its zone’s investors being operational , while others are only partially operational and others not operating at all. Operator of the... 

Entrepreneurs facing significant challenges amid Covid-19 pandemic

By: Donna Slater     8th June 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified South Africa’s economic challenges, with entrepreneurial businesses being more susceptible to succumb to a depressed trading environment, a new report published on June 8 has found. 'Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa (GEM SA) 2019/20 – Igniting... 

New report shows African economic integration still has long way to go

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th June 2020 The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have jointly called for African countries to strengthen their economic integration. They made this call at the recent launch of the Africa Regional Integration Index... 

WHO reiterates importance of lockdowns to ‘slow the spread’ of Covid-19

By: Simone Liedtke     4th June 2020 Lockdowns, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been “a challenging balance” to maintain, says World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa regional director Dr Matshidiso Moeti. She notes, however, that while the economic impacts thereof have been severe, “an out of control spread of the... 

Survey confirms smokers buying more black market cigarettes amid ban

By: Donna Slater     4th June 2020 A survey conducted by gig technology company M4Jam has found that half of all South African smokers have been able to source new cigarette supplies during lockdown, and 95% are paying elevated prices for what are mostly black-market products. M4Jam states that a demographically representative... 

Unctad sees green shoots for developing countries’ exports

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd June 2020 Global exports of commodities to China could plunge by between $15-billion and $33-billion this year, which is 46% lower than annual growth projections before Covid-19 hit, says the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The intergovernmental body adds that this finding raises... 

Swiss institute advances technology to trace pearl origins

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd June 2020 The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) has introduced a new service to support the documentation of the origin and provenance of pearls, assisting the pearl trade in documenting origins and improving the traceability of pearls. The service is supported by the SSEF’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)... 

Bidvest warns of lower earnings amid Covid-19

By: Donna Slater     1st June 2020 Services, trading and distribution group, the Bidvest Group, expects its headline earnings a share and earnings a share for the financial year to June 30 to be more than 20% lower year-on-year, as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on some of its businesses. While trading profit has been... 

Production capacity rises in May but to remain subdued until demand grows

By: Donna Slater     1st June 2020 Having plunged to an all-time low of 5.1 index points in April, financial services provider Absa’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) survey rose sharply to 43.2 index points in May, propelled by many factories returning to production in May when South Africa went into Alert Level 4, the bank... 

Sector’s GDP contribution not what it should be

By: Darren Parker     29th May 2020 For South Africa’s stage of economic development, manufacturing should be contributing at least double what it currently does to gross domestic product (GDP), states industry body Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth. Manufacturing has declined from 26% of South Africa’s GDP... 

Sector’s GDP contribution not what it should be
MANUFACTURING SLOWDOWN Employment figures in the manufacturing sector are unlikely to turn around without a sustained improvement in demand to bolster industry activity

Reindustrialisation of manufacturing critical for growth

By: Darren Parker     29th May 2020 Measures to stimulate economic growth in South Africa after Covid-19 should include policies and interventions that will result in the reindustrialisation of the manufacturing sector, says industry body Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth. She tells Engineering News that... 

Reindustrialisation of manufacturing critical for growth
SPARKING SECTOR GROWTH It is critical to implement measures to stimulate the reindustrialisation of the manufacturing sector

Commission refers another case of excessive pricing to the tribunal

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     28th May 2020 The Competition Commission has referred, to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution, a case against an industrial chemicals company, Caprichem, for alleged excessive pricing during the State of National Disaster. This follows an investigation by the commission, which found that Caprichem... 

Africa's debt burden to rise from Covid-19 capital disinvestments

By: Donna Slater     28th May 2020 As a result of the economic impact of Covid-19, there have been significant outflows of capital from emerging markets, many in Africa, thus far this year, as risk appetite weakens significantly and capital is redirected into safe haven assets, like gold, reports insurance company Alexander Forbes... 

Supplier launches 450 new products 

By: Mamaili Mamaila     27th May 2020 Electrical switchgear supplier ElectroMechanica (EM) launched the latest edition of its product catalogue this year. A new catalogue is launched on average every two years. 

Supplier launches  450 new products
ElectroMechanica director Richard Nobbs tells Engineering News about the company’s 2020 catalogue. Camerawork: Creamer Media’s Darlene Creamer. Editing: Creamer Media’s Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 27.02.2020
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