Top 5 on Fin24: Gigaba given ultimatum on PIC demands, rand gains as Zexit talks intensify | Fin24

Top 5 on Fin24: Gigaba given ultimatum on PIC demands, rand gains as Zexit talks intensify

Feb 09 2018 18:27

Cape Town - A roundup of Friday's must-read financial and economic news.

Rand leads advance among peers as Zexit talks intensify

The rand led emerging-market currency gains against the dollar as reports of a meeting by top officials of the ruling African National Congress fuelled speculation Jacob Zuma’s days as president are numbered.

The currency climbed as much as 0.9% before paring the gain to trade 0.41% stronger at R12.12 to the dollar by 14:33 in Johannesburg. Yields on rand-denominated government bonds fell 1 basis point to 8.45%.

South African assets have rallied since Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected leader of the ANC in December, setting him on a path to take over as head of state from Zuma, whose nine-year administration has been mired in mismanagement, corruption and stagnant growth.

Public servants union gives Gigaba Monday ultimatum on PIC demands

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. (Pic: Gallo Images

The PSA (Public Servants Association) is determined to “liberate” the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) from the “clutches of determined looters”. 

So said PSA deputy general manager Tahir Maepa when he announced on Friday that the union had given Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba until Monday to respond to requests the union has been making since September last year.

The union wants to know why, although it is a provision of the PIC Act, no “depositor” (worker or union) representatives were appointed to the PIC board by Gigaba. “It is clear so long as we are absent our members' monies remain in danger,” said Maepa.

Fifty actions that could fix Eskom and industry mess

When the dust settles and hard reality sinks in, what is it that will be expected of Eskom and government (as shareholder) to regain the confidence of the financial community sufficiently to start extending new finance, be it bridging finance, rolling over or refinancing existing debt, providing new loans, of buying new Eskom bonds?

Energy expert Chris Yelland lists 50 ways to do this.

STAR shines on despite Steinhoff scandals

The quarterly revenue of Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) increased by 15.5% to R18.4bn on the back of a strong performance by its discount clothing stores. 

During the three months ended December 31 2017, STAR managed to shake the Steinhoff yoke, showing strong results in a still constrained retail space. The retail group said in its trading update that on a comparable basis, revenue growth amounted to 8.5% for the quarter.

While its parent company Steinhoff International has not recovered after losing 90% of its value after its December meltdown, statistics showed that STAR had recovered 23.5% since January as investors’ fears about its involvement were laid to rest. It also overcame lacklustre Christmas sales, with a back-to-school recovery.

It’s the economy, Cyril

THE leadership limbo South Africa continues to endure might unnerve some, but for those in business, the leadership baton has been passed. It is no longer Jacob Zuma’s to manipulate and control. We have, already, largely moved into a post-Zuma era.

While the minutiae of the Zexit settlement is still to be finalised, South Africa’s economic plight - linked so closely to its governance and political performance - now takes centre stage.

And the looming budget, set to be presented in an unprecedented atmosphere of transition, will initially set the scene for the unfolding battles to uplift sentiment and restore confidence, writes Daniel Silke.

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