Bitcoin Down 30% In Four Days

The price of bitcoin fell to less than $13,080 on Friday morning, according to CoinDesk.com. That makes an 18-percent drop since its previous slide, and more than 30 percent since it reached the historic $20,000 mark last week. The cryptocurrency has experienced its second major drop in just days. Rival bitcoin cash has also fallen, plunging to $2,536 per coin, following its rapid climb of more than 50 percent to almost $4,330 per token on December 20.

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Shoprite Employees On Nationwide Strike

More than 30‚000 workers are expected to take part in the protected strike on Friday‚ according to the South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) and union federation Cosatu. The workers are demanding a reversal of changes to working hours‚ the reinstatement of Sandton Checkers employees who were dismissed for protesting against the changes‚ safe transport for night-shift staff and a guaranteed number of minimum working hours for part-time workers.

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Facebook Signs Landmark Deal With Universal Music

Facebook Inc. signed a multiyear licensing deal that lets the social network carry songs and artists from the world’s biggest record label, Universal Music Group, across its platforms. The deal announced Thursday solves a long-running dispute, with Facebook agreeing to compensate the company and artists including Taylor Swift when users post videos that include copyrighted material. The accord includes Facebook, Instagram and Oculus virtual-reality technology, with Universal saying the company would become a “significant contributor” to the industry.

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British American Tobacco To Buy Twisp

British American Tobacco, the world’s second-largest traded cigarette maker, agreed to buy South African vaping company Twisp, expanding in a continent where it has grown in since buying Rothmans in 1999. The deal increases BAT’s offering of so-called next-generation products, or alternatives to smoking cigarettes, the London-based company said in a statement on Thursday. It didn’t disclose the price of the deal or how it’s being funded.

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Canada Cancels Gupta Jet Loan

Canada’s trade financing agency Export Development Canada (EDC) said on Thursday it has scrapped a deal to help finance the sale of a Bombardier Inc jet to the wealthy Gupta family. The Guptas failed to meet loan repayment obligations in recent weeks and, with the EDC assessing a “political exposure” risk, it terminated the loan which allowed Canada’s Bombardier to sell a Global 6000 jet to them.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R190,339. R9,645 . R/USD12.72 . R/GBP17.04 . R/EUR15.14

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Bitcoin In Flash Crash Down By $4000

Bitcoin flash crashed today on some of the exchanges after the Asian market open, with waves of selling hitting the most valuable coin even before that. The digital currency fell below the $16,000 level (Bitstamp prices) marking a 20% decline from its recent all-time high

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Old Mutual Wealth Sold To Buxton

Insurer Old Mutual has finally let superstar fund manager Richard Buxton go, selling the single-strategy business he runs at Old Mutual Wealth to him and his team, together with private equity group TA Associates, for £600m.

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ANC 68 Missing Votes Fiasco

The election of the entire ANC top six leadership structure – led by newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa – risks being challenged amid allegations of 68 unaccounted votes and irregularities in the tallying of votes. North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo confirmed that the ANC’s steering committee met to investigate what is presently dubbed as “the disappearance” of 68 delegate votes.

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Steinhoff Cant Explain Irregularities

Steinhoff’s eagerly awaited presentation to a group of its bankers was met with dismay on Tuesday, as the global furniture retailer said that it could still not quantify the magnitude of the “accounting irregularities” that had led to the bombshell resignation of its charismatic CEO Markus Jooste two weeks ago. Its stock, which has lost most of its value since Jooste’s abrupt departure, had recently recovered from its lows of R6 a share, but plunged afresh, closing 17.45% weaker at R7.

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ANC Technically Insolvent

The ANC is technically insolvent as its liabilities exceed the value of its assets, according to the financial report tabled by outgoing treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. The organisation is also R215m in debt and had a deficit of R47m over the past financial year. This was despite a debt-management programme over the past five years that brought debt down from the 2013 level of R249m.

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SABC And Unions Reach Wage Deal

The SABC says this has brought to an end the workers strike after Bemawu also signed the agreement last week following the CCMA intervention. Last week workers downed tools over salary disputes, demanding 10% salary adjustments while the employer was offering on 4.5%. The public broadcaster says CWU has agreed to a 4.8% increase, back-dated to July 2017.

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Currencies: R267,134 . Ether R12,360 . R/USD12.78 . R/GBP17.07 . R/EUR15.13

Ramaphosa Wins ANC Presidency Race

Ramaphosa’s victory was announced at the ANC’s elective conference in Gauteng after he nosed ahead of his opponent‚ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa received 2‚440 votes and Dlamini-Zuma got 2‚261. Gwede Mantashe is the new national chairperson and Paul Mashatile the new treasurer general. Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza was elected deputy president‚ Ace Magashule is the incoming secretary general and Jessie Duarte retained her position as deputy secretary general.

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Rand Rallies On Ramaphosa Win

The rand cheered as the ANC announced the new president of the politic party following the election process that kicked of on Saturday (16 December 2017). The rand firmed 2% on Friday as the ANC prepared to elect its new leader. At 10am on Monday, the rand was trading at R13.09 against the dollar and shortly after the announcement; the rand firmed to R12.59 against the US dollar.
DA Files Criminal Charges Against Koko

DA) says it has filed criminal charges against the reinstated acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko following what it calls the sham of a disciplinary hearing. Koko was found not guilty of all charges relating to misconduct during disciplinary procedures which led to his reinstatement.

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Biggest IPO In History 

The markets are awaiting what is expected to be the biggest public offering in history. An IPO so big it will likely make any Silicon Valley unicorn look like a blip in the market. The Saudi’s plan is to offer up to 5% of Aramco in the flotation at a currently predicted price of $100 billion. This would give Aramco a valuation of $2 trillion, making it the largest IPO ever. Initially, the sale was expected to take place in early 2018, but the anticipated date is now late 2018 or early 2019.

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Micro Insurance Closer To Reality

The long-awaited Insurance Bill was among a number of pieces of legislation passed by the National Council of Provinces at its final scheduled plenary sitting for 2017 last week – good news for lower-income South Africans, because it brings access to micro-insurance one step closer.

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New Minimum Wage For Domestic Workers

The department of labour has released the sectoral determination for domestic workers, showing the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa – at least until the national minimum wage comes into effect. According to the latest determination, domestic workers must get paid a minimum of R1,641 up to R2,545, depending on which area you live in. This is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates.

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Currencies: R305,693. Ether R13,552. R/USD12.78 . R/GBP17.08 . R/EUR15.08

Still No Result At ANC Conference

Glitches with registration at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus became one of the reasons the African National Congress (ANC)’s 54th elective conference began late this weekend, with delegates from the North West questioning how fairly they will be represented during the votes at Nasrec. Some delegates were unable to get their accreditation at the weekend, claiming that bogus members were put on the list to represent their regions.

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6.7 Million On 200 Bullet Proof Vests

The South African Police Service has purchased “what could be the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world”. This is according to a report in the Sunday Times, which stated that R6.7 million was spent on 200 hi-tech lightweight vests for ballistics testing. A further order for R33 million from Indian manufacturer MKU is potentially in the works, stated the report. The Sunday Times said the SAPS paid R33,402 per vest, of which “a significant slice” went to a Durban businessman who acted as a middleman.

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Zuma Announces Free Higher Education

President Jacob Zuma has announced that government will subsidise free higher education for poor and working class students. He said in a statement on Saturday that the definition of poor and working class students will now refer to “currently enrolled TVET Colleges or university students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000” by the 2018 academic year.

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Nersa Grants Eskom 5.23% Tariff Increase

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has granted power parastatal Eskom an average percentage price increase of 5.23% for the 2018/19 financial year.

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FSB May Review Wiese Share Sale

Life became even tougher for Christo Wiese at the weekend when it emerged that the forced sale of 98.5-million of his Steinhoff shares is likely to be reviewed by the Financial Services Board (FSB) to determine if it contravenes insider-trading regulations.

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Slight Decrease In Petrol Price Expected

Slight decreases in the fuel price are being predicted on mixed news from the currency markets and international oil trade, the Automobile Association said on Friday. The AA was commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF), which showed that the price both grades of petrol declining marginally in January.

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Deloitte To Be Investigated For Steinhoff Audits

Deloitte South Africa is set to be probed for its role as Steinhoff International’s auditor, City Press reported. It comes after rival firm and fellow Big Four auditing unit, KPMG, came under scrutiny for its role in state capture. KPMG was accused of aiding state capture by facilitating or ‘turning a blind eye’ to alleged money laundering by Gupta-linked companies.

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Bitcoin Futures Launches On CME

The world’s biggest exchange just joined the bitcoin revolution. Bitcoin futures started trading Sunday night at CME Group Inc.’s venue, a week after Chicago rival Cboe Global Markets Inc. introduced similar derivatives on the volatile cryptocurrency. CME is a much bigger player in futures, so many traders expect it to make a bigger splash in the nascent space.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R305,999 . Ether R11,520 . R/USD13.08 . R/GBP17.41 . R/EUR15.38

Christo Weise Resigns As Steinhoff Chair

Steinhoff International chairman and largest shareholder, billionaire Christo Wiese, is stepping down from the supervisory board following the accounting scandal that has engulfed the retail giant. The board accepted Wiese’s resignation to resolve questions of conflict of interest, the owner of furniture chains such as Mattress Firm in the US and Conforama in France said in a filing on Thursday. Heather Sonn, a member of the board and its independent subcommittee, will take the role of acting chairwoman.

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DA Suspends De Lille

The federal executive of the DA has decided to suspend City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille from party activities pending the outcome of ongoing investigations into a series of reports and an affidavit containing allegations of maladministration in the city, also asking her to give reasons why she shouldn’t resign as mayor. This comes after the conclusion of an investigation of the allegations by a subcommittee.

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Lungisa Fezile Appointed Standard Bank CEO

Standard Bank has appointed Lungisa Fuzile as CEO for its South African unit. A former director-general within the Treasury, Fuzile will take over from Sim Tshabalala, who has served in the role since 2008. “This appointment follows the recent changes to the group’s executive structure, which resulted in the disbanding of the joint group CEO construct,” Standard Bank Group said in a statement. Ben Kruger stepped down as joint CEO of Standard Bank Group in September, leaving Tshabalala as the sole head of Africa’s biggest bank by assets.

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Zuma, Ministers And Guptas Sued Over Eskom

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Sygnia Asset Management CEO Magda Wierzycka have approached the courts to deal with the capture of Eskom. According to an affidavit filed at the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday, the foundation and Wierzycka want the courts to set upside the “series of unlawful, improper and corrupt” exercises of public power, and to recover all the proceeds lost in order to benefit the fiscus. The application has been brought against 73 respondents including Eskom itself, President Jacob Zuma, Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Eskom executives including Anoj Singh and Brian Molefe and former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa and Oakbay’s Ronica Ragavan, and both Ajay and Atul Gupta.

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University Fee Increase Capped At 8%

Universities South Africa says it’s decided to cap fees at 8% for the 2018 academic year. Last month President Jacob Zuma released the findings of the Heher Commission, which was tasked with investigating the feasibility of free higher education in South Africa.

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Govt Plans To Raise R4bn From Telkom Share Sale

South Africa is reportedly seeking to raise as much as 4 billion rand ($297 million) from the sale of part of its 39 percent stake in Telkom SA SOC Ltd. to raise funds for the country’s unprofitable state airline and post office

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,370. Ether R9,843. R/USD13.50 . R/GBP18.10 . R/EUR15.90

Zuma Must Personally Pay Legal Costs

Jacob Zuma has been held personally liable for all costs incurred in his bid to block the release of the Public Protector’s ‘State Of Capture’ report. The DA’s James Selfe said, after speaking to the DA’s legal team, that the approximate costs of the litigation since October 14, 2016 would be around R1.5-million. But Zuma will also be liable for costs incurred by other parties as well.

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Zuma Given 30 Days To Set Up Inquiry

President Jacob Zuma was ordered by the high court on Wednesday to set up a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture headed by a judge selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. For the second time in less than a week, the High Court in Pretoria found that Zuma could not effectively exercise his powers as head of state due to personal conflict of interest. It said the president was so conflicted that he was unable to fulfil his constitutional duties.

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IRBA Receives Steinhoff Fraud Notice

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) has confirmed that a notice of a reportable irregularity has been filed with it in the last week regarding suspicions of fraud in relation to the accounts of Steinhoff. This is notable because a reportable irregularity (IR) is filed by an auditor of a company in the event where an “unlawful act or omission” committed by an executive in charge of an entity that has caused, or will cause “material financial loss” to the company, including other providers of capital.

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17 New Shopping Malls In SA This Year

A new study published by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Real Estate South Africa on behalf of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), has found that local malls are getting bigger. The data indicates that the average size of centres developed have steadily increased in size since the 1990s, with centres slated for completion between 2017 and 2020 being significantly larger than those developed during the 1990s and 2000s. As of July 2017, the South African retail development pipeline measures 1.9 million square metres across 68 centres – the bulk of which is planned for completion in 2018. Currently, there are 17 shopping centres slated for completion in the remaining weeks of 2017.

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US Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates one notch higher as the U.S. economy continues to get healthier. The rate hike, which was widely expected, was the third this year. Policy makers pointed to the lower number of unemployed workers, increased spending by households, and bigger investments by businesses in recent quarters.

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Alibaba To Sign Deals With NBC And Sony

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s video streaming service, Youku Tudou, has signed content licensing deals with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television, marking a deeper foray into entertainment for the Chinese e-commerce giant. The multiyear agreements gives Youku subscribers access to hundreds of films from the studios, the service said Thursday in a statement. Users will also have faster access to new and recently released movies, including “Blade Runner 2049”

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SARS Wants To Track CryptoCurrency Earnings

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) is in discussions with some of the top technology companies in the world to enable it to track cryptocurrency trades more efficiently. Interest in cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, has risen significantly, but since the environment is fairly opaque, regulators around the world are still struggling to formulate a plan to deal with it. The exponential rise in the price of bitcoin in particular poses a threat to Sars’ revenue collection efforts as it is largely dependent on traders’ own truthful declaration of profits. Financial institutions like banks are required to supply Sars with information on the investments of their clients for verification purposes, but in a crypto environment where such information is lacking, Sars may have to trust that a taxpayer made honest declarations with regard to crypto gains.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,799 . R11,854 . Rd/USD13.47 . R/GBP18.06 . R/EUR15.92 

Australia Exchange To Use Blockchain

Australia’s main stock exchange has said it will use blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency bitcoin, to process its equities transactions in a shift touted as a world-first for a major financial institution. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the eighth-largest share market in the world, will replace its current system Chess with the distributed ledger technology to manage the clearing and settlement for buying and selling stocks. ASX chief executive Dominic Stevens said the move “will put Australia at the forefront of innovation in financial markets”, in a statement.

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Matsela Koko Wants His Job Back

Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko yesterday claimed the power utility had failed to prove wrongdoing against him and wants to be reinstated to his old job immediately. In his closing submission to the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing Mzungulu Mthombeni, Koko said Eskom had dismally failed to establish a strong case on any of the six charges he faced.

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California Fires Cause Billions Of Damage

Wildfires in California have caused insured losses of more than $3.3 billion, based on claims reported by 15 insurers, and the figure will rise. The number includes claims for 10,016 partial residential losses, 4,712 total residential losses, 728 commercial property losses, and 3,200 personal auto losses. California is the largest U.S. insurance market, where insurers collect about $289 billion in premiums per year. The $3.3 billion total is more than three times the $1.05 billion preliminary estimate. It’s also more than an estimate of $2 billion to $3 billion made last week by Boston-based AIR Worldwide.

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Russia Signs $30bn Nuclear Deal With Egypt

Egypt and Russia have signed a $30bn deal to build North Africa’s first nuclear power plant as the Kremlin moves to expand its influence in the region. The project increases Russia’s economic presence and political influence in the Middle East, already on the rise since Putin intervened in Syria’s war in 2015 and began a more active role in Libya, conflicts where he and El-Sisi see eye to eye. The Cairo visit comes less than two weeks after the countries said they were in talks to use each other’s military air bases.

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Russian Hackers Steal $10 Million From US Banks

A previously unknown ring of Russian-language hackers has stolen as much as $10 million from U.S. and Russian banks in the last 18 months, according to a Moscow-based cyber-security firm that runs the largest computer forensics laboratory in eastern Europe. The MoneyTaker group broke into 20 systems, which includes 15 U.S. lenders, targeting ATMs with “mules” and Russia’s interbank money-transfer system

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Blue Label Telecom’s Acquisition Of 3g Approved

Blue Label has completed its acquisition of 3G Mobile through its subsidiary The Prepaid Company. Blue Label successfully completed the initial acquisition of 47.37% of the issued share capital of 3G Mobile for R900 million in August. It has now received permission to acquire the remaining 52.63% of the issued share capital of 3G Mobile for R1 billion.

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Currencies: Bitcoin RR245,478 . Ether R7,664 . R/USD13.64 . R/GBP18.16 . R/EUR16.05