Markets WRAP: Rand closes at R15.23/$

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21 Aug 2019

The rand closed at R15.23 to the greenback on Wednesday afternoon.

SA's inflation figure came out at 4.0% for July today, which was better than the 4.5% in June. It was also better than the expected 4.3%.

The rand firmed on the news. All eyes will turn to the release of the Fed minutes later tonight.

21 Aug 2019

Absa appoints new non-executive director

Rose Keanly has been appointed independent non-executive director to the board of Absa Group with effect from September 1, 2019, the group announced in a shareholder notice.

"Rose retired as the former Chief Operating Officer of Old Mutual Emerging Markets in February 2018, following a career with the Old Mutual group spanning 38 years and various, mainly information technology and operations related, positions," the notice read.

Prior to her position as COO, she was the Managing Director of Old Mutual Emerging Markets Customer Services and Technology.

21 Aug 2019

JSE-listed IT company AYO announced on Wednesday afternoon that Takudzwa Hove had resigned as one of its directors for personal reasons.  

The company, in an update to shareholders, said Hove resigned with effect from 19 August 2019 for personal reasons.

"The board takes this opportunity to express their appreciation toTakudzwa and extends its best wishes for his future endeavours within AYO," it said in a statement.

The IT group has come under scrutiny at the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation. 

While some former employees testified that the group's valuation ahead of its IPO was inflated, Iqbal Survé, the head of investment holding company Sekunjalo, said AYO had done nothing wrong. 

Hove was mentioned at the PIC inquiry as one of the directors of another IT company in the Sekunjalo stable - Sagarmatha - which failed to list on the JSE. 

According to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, Hove is still a director of Sagarmatha. 

21 Aug 2019

Renergen signs $40m US govt loan for Free Stats gas project

JSE-listed liquefied natural gas and helium producer, Renergen, announced on Wednesday that it had signed a $40m loan agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for its gas field project in the Free State. 

OPIC, according to its website, is a "US government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets".

Renergen CEO, Stefano Marani said in a statement on Wednesday: “Today’s announcement is special on multiple fronts, not only does the agreement provide access to an efficient source of capital to progress the Virginia Gas Project towards production, but it is also a huge endorsement by the US Government through the OPIC of both the project and the significant importance of securing helium supply.”

The loan has a 12-year term.

In a statement, Renergen said it would now focus on commencement of construction activities, whilst "finalising parameters around the drilling targets".

Read SENS announcement here

21 Aug 2019

Europe stocks, US futures climb; JSE All Share up

Laura Curtis, Bloomberg, and Fin24 

European stocks climbed along with US equity futures after a mixed session in Asia as investors assessed the latest news on trade and awaited more clues on monetary policy.

Treasury yields ticked higher after retreating Tuesday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped, with automakers leading the advance as Renault and Fiat Chrysler surged after a report that they’re still talking about a potential merger.

Contracts on the three main U.S. equity gauges advanced a day after the S&P 500 Index closed lower as .S President Donald Trump showed no urgency to resolve trade friction with China and renewed his call for a “big” Federal Reserve rate cut.

Japanese and Australian benchmarks fell, while shares rose in Hong Kong and Seoul and were little changed in Shanghai.

The yen slipped with the pound and the dollar was little changed. Most European bonds declined, though Italian debt rose a second day after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned.

The JSE All Share index was trading up 0.34% at 11:27. 

21 Aug 2019

July consumer price inflation drops to 4%

Annual headline consumer price inflation decreased to 4% for July, down from 4.5% in June, according to Stats SA.

This is slightly lower than the projections of analysts, and within the target range of between 3% and 6% set by the SA Reserve Bank. 

The rand edged lower on Wednesday morning in anticipation of the Fed minutes to be release in the evening, according to TreasuryONE. 

The local currency was at R15.26/$ at 10:04, 0.67% stronger after opening at R15.36 to the greenback. 

21 Aug 2019

Asian stocks mixed on low volumes

Adam Haigh, Bloomberg

Stocks in Asia were mixed on low volumes as investors assessed the latest news on trade talks and awaited more clues on monetary policy.

Treasury yields ticked higher after retreating Tuesday. Japanese and Australian equities fell, while shares fluctuated in Hong Kong and China, and rose in South Korea. US futures saw modest gains.

Earlier, the S&P 500 Index closed lower as US President Donald Trump showed no urgency to resolve trade friction with China and renewed his call for a “big” Federal Reserve rate cut. The yen slipped and the dollar was little changed.

Just a day after markets cheered progress on trade negotiations, investors took a more cautious approach. Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, speaks with business leaders this week amid concerns about a recession, the trade war and whipsawing markets.

Fed minutes are due Wednesday and though they’re outdated given recent market turmoil and likely to be overshadowed by Jerome Powell’s address at Jackson Hole, they may provide clarity on the economic outlook that would push officials to keep lowering rates.

“The key thing this week is the Jackson Hole speech by Fed Chair Powell,” Tuuli McCully, head of Asia-Pacific Economics at Scotiabank, told Bloomberg TV. “It will be interesting to hear if he sticks to the mid-cycle adjustment tone or if he will promise more.”

21 Aug 2019

The race for reach is on - Shoprite Group CEO

"This means the winners will be the retailers that reach the most customers via the most media and the largest number of distribution models, and we have already illustrated that we want to go into precision retail," says Shoprite Group CEO Pieter Engelbrecht.

The race for reach is on - Shoprite Group CEO
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