Armyworm To Cost Africa $3Bn

An outbreak of fall armyworms destroying crops across Africa may cost the continent about $3 billion in lost corn output in the coming year, according to an estimate by the Centre for Agricultural and Biosciences International. The alien pest, which is prevalent in the Americas, attacks more than 80 different plant species.

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S.A Trade Surplus Reaches R11.4 Billion

South Africa’s trade surplus grew sharply in March as commodity exports jumped on the back of strong global demand, raising the chances it will be able to narrow the current account deficit, which is seen as a key economic weakness. The treasury has an ambitious target to trim the current account deficit to around 3% from 4% of gross domestic product last year.

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Zuma Signs Fica Bill Into Law

After many delays and criticism from international and local businesses, president Jacob Zuma has finally signed the anti-money laundering FICA bill into law. The bill which allows for increased scrutiny of the bank accounts of “prominent individuals”, including himself, was signed into law on Saturday.

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FSB Investigates Suspect Trades Ahead Of Gordhan Recall

The Financial Services Board (FSB) is investigating certain foreign-exchange futures contracts amid allegations that insider trading took place ahead of the firing of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. “We are currently analysing both the report from the JSE as well as the article, which was published by Stuart Theobald of Intellidex. The investigation is ongoing,” board CEO, Tshidi.

Illicit Capital Flows Cost $3.5 Trillion In 2014

Illicit capital flows into and out of developing economies ranged from $2-trillion to $3.5-trillion in 2014, with Africa the region most vulnerable to the flight of capital needed for investment and other purposes, according to a new study. It shows that combined, illicit outflows and inflows amounted to 14.1% to 24% of total developing country trade from 2005 to 2014, the last year for which comprehensive data are available.

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Indicators : Oil 51.40 – Rand/USD 13.29 – Rand/GBP 17.07 – Rand/EUR 14.50


Cosatu Officialy Accept Minimum Wage

South Africa’s main labor union federation accepted a government-proposed minimum wage of about 3,500 rand ($268) a month. While Cosatu favored a minimum monthly salary of 4,500 rand a month, the government’s proposal “is still a significant starting base towards a living wage,”. The government said businesses that aren’t able to afford the minimum wage for a 40-hour week will be able to apply for an exemption. Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which has an unemployment rate of almost 27 percent, has 6.6 million people earning less than 3,500 rand monthly

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Bank Of Baroda Closes Gupta Accounts

Bank of Baroda is set to close the Gupta family’s bank accounts by the end of March following pressure from its parent company in India. Between February and September 2016, First National Bank, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank closed the bank accounts of the Gupta family and their companies. The Bank of China followed suit.

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Country Bird To Close Local Abattoir 

Country Bird, South Africa’s third-largest chicken producer, is to close one of its three abattoirs as the local industry struggles to compete with cheap European imports, which it argues amount to dumping. South African farmers and labour unions say the EU is selling chicken legs, thighs and wings at below cost, pushing the local industry to the brink of collapse.

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Standard Bank Denies Wrongdoing In Forex Collusion

Standard Bank’s CEO, Sim Tshabalala, says the bank is not setting aside any cash for a potential Competition Tribunal fine for alleged collusion by its currency traders as internal investigations have not revealed any wrongdoing. The investigation by the Competition Commission, which sought to prosecute 18 global and local banks for collusion among their currency traders to fix prices on rand to dollar trades, related to three people, he said. “We employ 55,000 people.”

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AB InBev Bosses Forfeit Bonuses

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has canned bonuses for most of its executive board because of the disappointing 2016 financial results. The move is expected to affect swathes of executives in the group which, after last year’s $103bn acquisition of SABMiller, now controls just more than 25% of the global beer market. South African executives will not be affected as the old SABMiller scheme will apply to them for the year.

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Indicators : Oil 55.34 – Rand/USD 13.12 – Rand/GBP 16.01 – Rand/EUR 13.80

Brian Molefe Sworn In As MP

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has reportedly been sworn in as ANC member of Parliament. The official announcement is expected to be made when the National Assembly sits on Thursday afternoon.


VAT On Fuel Coming In 2018

Treasury is currently mulling the potential of removing the zero VAT rating on fuel but adds that “this will be subject to consultation leading up to the 2018 budget”. Gordhan announced that there will be a 30c per litre increase in the fuel levy and a nine cents per litre increase in the RAF levy‚ effective on 5 April.


Sibanye Pays R1.3 Billion Dividend

Sibanye, which during 2016 added the whole of Aquarius Platinum and Anglo American Platinum’s Rustenburg mines to its portfolio, declared a total dividend of R1.45 per share for the year, returning R1.3bn to shareholders. Sibanye reported a profit for the year to end-December of R3.3bn compared with R538m a year earlier. Net debt in the group grew to R6.3bn from R1.3bn a year earlier as its gross debt shot up to R8bn from R1.8bn a year earlier


Pravin Gordhans Investment Portfolio

A document released by Parliament’s ethics committee reveals that finance minister Pravin Gordhan held shares in more than 35 listed companies in 2016. Fin24 provided an image from the document highlighting Gordhan’s investment portfolio, which includes some of the biggest JSE-listed companies. The ministers’ portfolio includes shares in the banking industry, mining, real estate investment trusts, retailers, and the telecommunications sector. News24 reported on Tuesday that members of Parliament who did not meet the deadline to submit their financial interests and gifts will be given seven days to explain why they failed to do so. The seven days will only come into effect once the members have received letters from the acting registrar of Parliament, who has not sent them out yet.


$1 Trillion Trade Deal

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is aimed at cutting red tape and making the international flow of goods more seamless. It spans all 164 members of the World Trade Organization, including the U.S. The WTO said the deal will slash its members’ trade costs by average of 14.3% and will boost global merchandize trade by $1 trillion a year.


Indicators : Oil 56.31 – Rand/USD 12.97 – Rand/GBP 16.09 – Rand/EUR 13.67


Pravin To Deliver His Budget Speech

Pravin has quite a juggling act on his hands with the 2017 budget speech. In October, Gordhan said tax-policy measures will raise an extra R43bn ($3.3bn) and spending will be reduced by R26bn in the next two years to narrow the budget shortfall. That said, there is a distinct possibility that taxes will be raised while some sacrifices will have to be made to trim government spending. Raising the 14% value-added tax rate is another option but this is politically unpopular because its thought to hurt the poor.

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Telkom Considers R13Bn Bid For Cell C

Telkom is considering a bid of as much as $1bn (R13.16bn) for wireless operator Cell C, which has missed debt payments and is trying to complete a recapitalisation. Blue Label Telecoms agreed to buy a 45% stake in Cell C last year, but the deal has yet to be completed a week before the end-February deadline. Telkom held talks with Cell C’s owner Oger Telecom in 2015 about buying the carrier but failed to agree on a price.

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Barclays Africa Granted Immunity In Forex Rigging Case

The Competition Commission has granted Barclays Africa conditional immunity from prosecution in return for its continuing cooperation in the rand currency trading probe. “We did, through the investigation, receive a leniency application from Barclays/ABSA which cooperated and gave us more information,” The head of the Commission Tembinkosi Bonakele told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday. I think these banks are being treated with kid gloves.

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Verizon Cuts Yahoo Deal By  $350 Million

Verizon and Yahoo  have agreed to cut the acquisition price by $350 million following Yahoo’s disclosures in recent months of two huge security breaches affecting more than one billion users. Verizon’s new price tag for buying Yahoo’s core Internet assets is $4.48 billion, all in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

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HSBC Suffers Loss Of $4.2 Billion

HSBC reported a net loss of $4.2 billion for the fourth quarter of 2016. The biggest single hit to its battered bottom line came from a $2.4 billion writedown of the value of its private banking business in Europe. HSBC’s fourth-quarter results also suffered from lower revenue and higher costs than the same period a year earlier, when it posted a net loss of $1.3 billion. The bank’s shares were trading down around 5% in Hong Kong after it published the earnings report.

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Indicators : Oil 56.90 – Rand/USD 13.13 – Rand/GBP 16.35 – Rand/EUR 13.81



Dineo Devastes Mozambique

Tropical storm Dineo has killed seven people in Mozambique since it hit the eastern coast on Wednesday. Mozambique’s emergency operational centre said in a statement about 130,000 people living in the Inhambane province, 500 km north of the capital Maputo, had been affected by the storm. About 20,000 homes were destroyed by heavy rains and fierce winds. Floods in 2000 and 2001 killed hundreds of people in Mozambique and two cyclones in January 2012 killed 26 and displaced more than 125,000.

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DSTV To Increase Prices

From 1 April 2017, the price of DStv Premium will rise to R789/month, from R759/month now, an increase of 4%. Last year, MultiChoice hiked the price of DStv Premium by more than twice that by 8,6% from R699/month to R759/month. DStv Extra will increase on 1 April 2017 by 6,5% to R489/month, from R459/month now, while DStv Compact customers will have to fork out R365/month, a 5,8% increase over the R345/month currently charged. The 2016 increases for Extra and Compact were 8% and 8,2% respectively.

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Citigroup And Barclays To Avoid Collusion Fines

Citigroup and Barclays won’t be targeted for fines by South African antitrust authorities for colluding to manipulate the value of the rand because they co-operated with regulators. The banks manipulated the price of bids and offers through agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times.

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Samsung Chief Arrested

Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee was arrested early on Friday over his alleged role in a corruption scandal rocking the highest levels of power in South Korea. Lee is a suspect in the influence-peddling scandal that led parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye in December, a decision that if upheld by the Constitutional Court would make her the country’s first democratically elected leader forced from office.

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Facebook Adds An HR Function For Job Listings

Companies can now create job posts, track applications, and communicate with applicants through Facebook. After posting a job, page admins will be able to review applications and contact applicants in Messenger. As an applicant, when you click on the “Apply Now” button, a form will open that’s populated with information from your profile on Facebook. Applicants can review and edit their information before submitting an application

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Currencies And Stuff

JSE 52’586 – Oil 55.78 – Rand/USD 13.01 – Rand/GBP 16.22 – Rand/EUR 13.88