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2016-09-22 06:00

AFRICA’S biggest bank by market value, FirstRand, warns that ongoing conflict between government agencies coupled with the weak balance sheets of state owned enterprises has added significant financial risk to the SA economic outlook. FirstRand is the first of the country’s major lenders to reiterate concerns pending the upcoming review of South Africa’s investment rating before the end of this year.

Following closely on the recent announcement of a 3.3% increase in GDP for the second quarter of the year (April to June), figures for July indicate slowing growth in many sectors. Growth in manufacturing output slowed to below 1% and mining output actually contracted. According to analysts, the metal and engineering sector is of particular concern with an increased likelihood of further job losses.

Earlier this week the JSE retreated to its lowest levels for almost a month. The all share index dropped 1.02% and gold mining shares fell 2.57%. Financial and resource shares followed the trend falling 1.46% and 1.95% respectively.

Global markets are weaker overall as various comments emanating from the U.S. Federal Reserve seem to point toward an imminent hike in U.S. interest rates.

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