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S&P Has Downgraded South African Banks

April 05 2017 16:30 l   

Cape Town – Rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has downgraded South Africa’s banks to non-investment grade (BB+) to fall in line with its rating of the country.

Nedbank, Absa, Investec and FirstRand were downgraded by S&P after markets closed in South Africa on Wednesday, the rating agency website shows. 

However, Nedbank said “SA bank ratings, including Nedbank’s, were placed under ratings review by Moody’s and lowered in line with the sovereign rating by Standard & Poor’s”.

It said banks cannot be rated higher than the country's foreign currency sovereign credit rating, which it downgraded to junk status last Thursday.

"This is because of the likely direct and indirect influence of sovereign distress on domestic banks' operations, including their ability to service foreign currency obligations," S&P said in a statement on Wednesday.

“SA banks' ratings are constrained by the SA sovereign credit rating and any changes to the SA sovereign credit ratings are automatically reflected in the credit ratings of SA banks,” Nedbank said in a statement on Thursday.

The ratings actions reflect S&P’s assessment of the SA sovereign and banking industry as a whole and are not specific on any bank.

“The lowering of the ratings on South Africa reflects our view that political and institutional stability in the country has weakened,” S&P said in a statement regarding Nedbank.

“Amid slow economic growth and political wrangling, the South African banks have been performing resiliently, however.”

S&P said the negative outlook on Nedbank reflects that on the sovereign.

“We would lower the ratings on the bank or revise the outlook to stable should there be a similar action on the sovereign.

“Outside a sovereign action, we see positive or negative rating actions on the bank as a remote possibility in the next 12 months.”

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown said that “despite the downgrade, we must remember that Nedbank is operating in a South African banking system that is sound and well-capitalised”.

“When we announced our financial results in February 2017, our results showed that Nedbank is in very good shape and we are well prepared to deal with the volatility that a sovereign downgrade to sub-investment grade brings.

“We have strong capital and liquidity levels and our plans for 2017 are in place and include robust stress testing. This means that we have the strategies, people and balance sheet strength to work our way through the difficult environment in South Africa.”

South Africa’s six-member bank index has declined by over 10% since President Jacob Zuma removed Pravin Gordhan as Finance minister last week. Since the ousting of Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, the country's banks have lost R61bn, as of Tuesday.

S&P said the more pronounced downgrades of the nonoperating holding companies of Barclays Africa and FirstRand reflect its view of the increasing risk of structural subordination following the downgrade of the operating bank entities to speculative grade.

"As a result of this, combined with the respective downgrades of the operating entities, we lowered our national scale ratings on the nonoperating holding companies by five notches, in line with our mapping  criteria."

 

-Fin24

 

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South African Government Bans Brazilian Meat

March 23 2017 11:30 l   

Johannesburg – The South African government on Wednesday suspended imports of meat from establishments suspected to be involved in the Brazil meat scandal.

South Africa is joining a chorus of other countries after China, the European Union, South Korea and Chile on Monday announced restrictions of red meat imports from Brazil due to recent evidence showing that Brazilian meat-packers have been selling rotten and substandard produce for several years, especially to export markets.

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SA Economic Outlook Positive

March 10 2017 18:10 l   

Cape Town - SA is on the brink of recovery - not a great recovery, but better than hovering near zero growth, Investec director Jeremy Gardiner said at an information session on Friday.

"The world is looking much better this year than last year, including South Africa. The good news is the whole world is recovering and that will be good for emerging markets coming back in favour," said Gardiner.

"The economic outlook is positive, but there are risks to portfolios from Trump, Brexit and Zuma, among others. The Fed raising interest rates could also put pressure on bond prices."

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Economic Dev_2017

PE Storage Plant To Get R100m Expansion

February 27 2017  18:10 l   

Cape Town - The expansion of the Port Elizabeth (PE) Cold Storage plant at a cost of R100 million will add a further 20 jobs to the facility. The investment is an addition to the original warehouse investment made during the 2007/08 financial year which totalled R85 million and, since then, the plant has seen its business grow in the process, benefiting a substantial number of families in the Nelson Mandela Bay region through job creation and employment.

 

Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, head of marketing and communications at the Coega Development Corporation, said the PE Cold Storage plant, located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), one of the first export orientated investors to locate their facility at the IDZ, is doubling the size of the plant.

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2017 Budget In A NutShell

February 23 2017  18:50 l   

Cape Town – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had a tough message for South Africans in Wednesday's Budget Speech in the National Assembly, with the introduction of a new tax bracket for the very rich, state debt creeping up and almost all economic indicators and fiscal numbers weaker than in last year's budget.

While South Africa is "once again at a crossroads" and "tough choices have to be made to achieve development outcomes", Gordhan nevertheless tried to stress the need for growth. 

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Local And International Banks Face Prosecution Over Rand Price Fixing

February 15 2017 20:00 l   

Cape Town - The Competition Commission on Wednesday referred a collusion case to the tribunal for prosecution against 17 banks, including three of South Africa's big banks.

 

The commission said in a statement it has been investigating a case of price-fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the rand since April 2015. It has now referred the case to the tribunal for prosecution.

The banks are Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, Investec Ltd, Standard New York Securities Inc, HSBC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Credit Suisse Group; Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd, Commerzbank AG; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Nomura International Plc, Macquarie Bank Limited, ABSA Bank Limited (ABSA), Barclays Capital Inc, Barclays Bank plc (Respondents).

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Sekunjalo Injects R500m To Boost Entrepreneurs Within Renewable Energy

February 09 2017  14:15 l   

South African entrepreneurs yesterday received a shot in the arm after Sekunjalo Investment Group committed R500 million to boost renewable energy initiatives and women-owned businesses.

Sekunjalo executive chairman Iqbal Survé said that the Sekunjalo Impact Fund would play a meaningful role in improving their quality of life.

Survé said the company had already made the amount available and extended an invitation to local and international investors to join in raising more money for the fund.

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Drought And Weak Rand Had A Devastating Impact On Employees' Income

January 31 2017  16:25 l   

Cape Town - Salary earners in South Africa have seen a drop in their inflation adjusted salaries for a seventh straight month in December, the latest BankservAfrica Disposable Salary Index (BDSI) released on Tuesday showed.

According to Dr Caroline Belrose, head of information services at BankservAfrica, the weak rand and drought had a devastating impact on real incomes of employees and their families as inflation hurt consumers’ pockets.

On a year-on-year level, disposable salaries in December 2016 were lower than in December 2015 and 2014.

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The Rand is Undervalued By 62.70%, According To The Economist Index

January 23  2017 13:45 l   

Johannesburg – The rand should be trading at R5.20 to the dollar, according to the latest Big Mac Index by The Economist.

According to the index, the rand is undervalued by 62.70%.

The Big Mac Index was put together by The Economist as far back as 1986. It measures whether currencies are at the “correct” level, based on the theory of purchasing power parity (PPP).

PPP suggests that in the long run, exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services, in this case a Big Mac burger, in any two countries


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There Is An Urgent Need To Restore Compact Between Business And Society - WEF 

January 18  2017  21:30 l   

Davos - Business leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting agreed that there was an urgent need to restore the compact between business and society.

Jim Hagemann Snabe, member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum said there was a crisis of confidence in leadership and that companies needed to be responsive and responsible to all their stakeholders.

"We have an opportunity to reinvent how we do business, to refocus our efforts towards ensuring long-term sustainability," he said.

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Manufacturers In SA Concerned Over Subdued Business Sentiment 


January 12  2017  21:30 l   

Manufacturers in SA are concerned at the subdued business sentiment reflected in the latest Barclays Purchasing Managers’ Index for December 2016, released on Thursday. Industry body, the Manufacturing Circle, said the index, which provides a reliable guide to sentiment within the manufacturing sector, had not shown an improvement in demand in several months.

"At 46.7 index points, the South African index has remained below the neutral 50-point measure for the fifth month in a row — in contrast to a global upward trend," it said.

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SA Is Not Producing Enough School Leavers Competent In Maths And Science 


January 10  2017  11:30 l   

ANC Pinning Hope On Government's Black Industrialist Programme 


January 09  2017  12:10 l   

Cape Town  – The ANC is pinning its hopes on government’s Black Industrialists Programme, launched in 2016, to increase the black majority’s ownership of the economy. 

Hlaudi's Appointment Ruled Unlawful 


December 12  2016  15:10 l   

Cape Town - The Western Cape High court has ruled that Hlaudi Motsoaneng’s appointment as the SABC's group executive of corporate affairs as irrational and unlawful.

Econet Wireless Introduces Rand Wallet In Zimbabwe 


December 08  2016  16:40 l   

Harare – South Africa’s currency could effectively start circulating in Zimbabwe as mobile network Econet Wireless introduces rand wallet on its mobile money platform in the country.

Aarto System Has Become A Challenge For Traffic Fines Collections 


November 14  2016  14:50 l   

The cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane no longer want to be test cases for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system over its enforcement issues and disappointing traffic fine collections.
Medium-Term Budget 2016 In A Nutshell 

October 26  2016  19:00 l   

Cape Town – South Africa is in a difficult economic transitional phase and consolidation and balance will be the key words regarding government finances over the next three years. That was the core 

Google Data Request On The Rise From Governments 


October 13  2016  10:00 l   

Washington - Google said Wednesday that data requests from governments around the world hit a record high in the six months ending in June, extending a steady rise.

President Zuma Officially Appointed Busisiwe Mkhwebane As New Public Protector


October 06  2016  10:10 l   

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has officially appointed advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane as the new public protector for the next seven years, the Presidency said on Thursday.

SA Borders Needs To Be Protected From Illegal Immigrants And Their Illegal Businesses -JHB Mayor Herman Mashaba


October 04  2016  13:40 l   

JOHANNESBURG mayor Herman Mashaba has called for SA to strengthen its borders, saying it needs to be protected from illegal immigrants and their illegal businesses.

The Economy Must Be Controlled By Black Majority-Minister Brown


September 27  2016  18:10 l   

Johannesburg – The economy must be controlled by the black majority, said Minister of Public Enterprise, Lynne Brown.  Brown spoke to media briefly following a closed meeting with the Black 

Apple Linked With Buying Supercar Maker McLaren


September 22  2016  18:00 l   

Apple has been linked with a shock £1.5bn deal to buy McLaren Technology Group, the Formula One team owner and supercar maker.

A deal between Apple and the British company would dramatically shake up the technology and automotive industries. The California-based company’s interest in McLaren Technology Group highlights its ambition to develop technology that could be used in an electric and driverless car.

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SAA Financial Statements For The 2014/2015 Show R5.6bn Loss

September 20  2016  21:40 l   

Cape Town - SAA’s losses for the 2014/15 financial year was R5.6bn — close to R1bn more than the expected amount of R4.7bn. 

Bank Of England Introduces Plastic Banknotes


September 13  2016  20:20 l   

London - The Bank of England introduced its first plastic banknotes on Tuesday, with a new five pound entering circulation in England and Wales featuring World War Two leader Winston Churchill.

AfriHost To Offer Free Daily 18 hour Internet Promotion


September 08  2016  17:00 l   

Johannesburg - Internet service provider Afrihost has attempted to shake up the local ADSL market with a promotion that offers free daily 18 hour internet.

MTN Zakhele Futhi R9.9 billion BEE Transaction Starting 12th September

September 07  2016  11:40 l   

Zakhele Futhi is a special purpose vehicle which will hold approximately 4% equity in the MTN Group. The new share scheme will give qualifying black participants a discounted way to own MTN  
Futuregrowth Should Have Raised Concerns With SOEs Before Going Public - Ralph Mupita

 September 06  2016  21:00 l   

Cape Town - Futuregrowth, the asset manager which withdrew funding to six of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs), should have raised their concerns directly with these entities and not gone to the media, said Ralph Mupita, CEO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets. Full Story

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SA Steel Industry About To Collapse Due To Chinese Dumping

 August 30  2016  22:20 l   

Cape Town - Trade union Solidarity is calling for urgent preventative measures to stop Chinese dumping in the steel industry, which has already suffered about 11 000 job losses last year.
SA Healthcare Industry And Medical Schemes in Collusion -Cosatu

 August 26  2016  15:40 l   

Cape Town - In an open letter to the Competition Commission, Cosatu has accused the South African healthcare industry and medical schemes of collusion with regards to the availability of cancer screening tests. Full Story

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MTN To Unveil A R9.9bn BEE Zakhele Futhi Transaction In September 

 August 22  2016  12:00 l   

Johannesburg - Mobile network MTN is set to unveil a R9.9bn black economic empowerment transaction dubbed MTN Zakhele Futhi.
SA Agric Export Declined In 2015 Due To Drought  

 August 19  2016  17:40 l   

SA’s worst drought in decades has cost the country billions of rand in lost export revenue, data showed on Friday.

 

 

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