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09 July 18:57

EOH 'blacklisting' saga referred to Treasury

National Treasury is set to intervene in the wrangle between the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and technology group EOH over reports of possible blacklisting following the latter's involvement in tender corruption.

EOH has denied that it is on the verge of being blacklisted by the agency, as it has taken steps to clean up its operations.

It said on Friday it had been informed by SITA that the technology agency had received communication on the matter from Treasury, following a presentation delivered by EOH at the end of June.

It said based on the presentation, SITA had "referred the matter to the Department of National Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs for further processing".

The company, which was previously implicated in tender fixing and irregular payments, said it remained confident that the issues around its relationship with the state agency would be "positively resolved".

A blacklisting would impact its ability to continue doing business with government. 

But the company insisted, earlier this week, that it has been forthcoming with all the necessary information required by SITA.

EOH recently filed a lawsuit against four of its former top executives implicated in tender irregularities with the hope of reclaiming some of the funds lost. - Sibongile Khumalo

09 July 07:37

Global stocks hammered on worries about latest Covid wave

Global equity markets were hammered Thursday as Japan's decision to bar fans from the Olympics focused attention on the continued threat from Covid-19 to the global recovery.

The JSE's All-Share Index fell more than 2% to its lowest level in two weeks. After an ugly day in Europe and Asia,

Wall Street stocks opened sharply lower shortly after the Japanese Olympic minister's announcement, which followed a move to put Tokyo  under a virus state of emergency from July 12 to August 22.

The action came as Tunisia's health ministry spokeswoman called the effect of the virus on the country "catastrophic," while France warned nationals against traveling to Spain or Portugal on vacation because of a spike in cases."There's a growing concern about global growth," said Chris Low of FHN Financial, who also cited a shift towards monetary easing by top Chinese officials as illustrative of concerns about the economic outlook.US stocks ultimately recovered somewhat from their session lows, but all three major indices ended solidly down, with the Dow shedding 0.8 percent.

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08 July 17:32

The Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal give the green light to a deal that will see Mr Price acquiring Yuppiechef It said on Thursday that it has recommend the Tribunal approve the transaction without conditions.

"The Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets. The Commission further found that the proposed transaction does not raise any public interest concerns," it said.

The R500-million deal was announced earlier this year and is expected to give a boost to JSE-listed Mr Price's homeware and online offerings. The Yuppiechef founders are expected to remain on board.

08 July 14:34

Platinum shares bleed 

Stock markets slid on Thursday across the world as fears of strong inflation mounted.

The JSE's All-Share Index was down 2% by early afternoon on Thursday. The rand was flat at R14.40/$.Mining shares suffered most, with Implats, Anglo Platinum and Northam all down more than 7%.

Europe's top benchmarks were trading around 1.5% to 2.0% lower in early afternoon deals following some heavy losses in Asia.

The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday said a recent jump in US inflation had been higher than expected as the world's biggest economy recovers from the pandemic-induced downturn.

That has raised concerns that the Fed, along with other central banks, could reduce their emergency stimulus packages and raise interest rates sooner than expected. Analysts warn that such a situation could put a damper on the recovery.

"While stocks have been on a tear, hitting all-time highs last month, the mood in the markets is starting to sour," noted Oanda market analyst Sophie Griffiths.

"Concerns over the health of the economic recovery are denting risk sentiment and hitting demand for stocks even as the Federal Reserve moves towards tapering asset purchases."Fed officials believe that the US central bank needs to be ready to pull back on its massive support programme if strong inflation persists, according to minutes from its June policy meeting released Wednesday.


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08 July 11:09

More pain for Naspers, Prosus amid Chinese tech rout

Naspers and its subsidiary Prosus, which owns almost 29% of Tencent, saw more losses on Thursday morning on the JSE. Naspers fell another 3% to R2 781.24, and is now down 28% from its highest point (R3 888) reached earlier this year. Prosus fell 2% on Thursday morning.

Beijing's shock decision to remove ride-hailing app Didi from online platforms on national security grounds sparked fears of a wider regulatory move against firms once seen as untouchable.

Authorities this week suggested they could revise rules for Chinese companies listed overseas - a move that would clip the wings of major firms such as Alibaba, Tencent and Bytedance and potentially limit their ability to attract foreign capital.

- Fin24 and AFP

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08 July 08:38

Imperial shares rocket 33% after Dubai takeover bid

In opening trading on Thursday, Imperial's share price jumped 33% to R62.90 following the news that Dubai Ports World (DP World), which is owned by the Dubai government, has launched a R12.7 billion cash bid to buy out shareholders in South Africa’s  Imperial Logistics.DP World handles an estimated 10% of the world’s global container traffic, and has more than 53 000 employees in 61 countries.

Founded in 1948 as a motor dealership in Johannesburg, Imperial has been listed on the JSE since 1987, and over the years expanded into logistics and the transport of goods.

The company now has a large fleet of trucks, transporting goods for companies like Sasol, and offers other logistics services. Last year, it sold its European shipping business for more than R3.6 billion, as the company refocused its business on Africa. In a statement, DP World said it viewed Africa as a "long-term high growth market" and that the takeover of Imperial will provide “significant strategic value” to the group to deliver an end-to-end solution to cargo owners. It will be the Dubai company’s biggest African investment to date.

DP World’s cash offer comes to R66 per Imperial share. This is 40% higher than the company’s closing share price on Wednesday. 

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08 July 06:55

Crude oil prices fall again 

Oil prices finished lower again Wednesday following a choppy session while equities mostly gained as the markets digested Federal Reserve minutes signaling a policy change was coming but not imminent.

Oil prices, meanwhile, finished lower again after protracted talks by OPEC+ producers were called off without an agreement.

"Investors have realized that there will be lots of uncertainty about the OPEC's output policy in coming months and there is a small risk that the whole agreement could collapse, potentially leading to another price war," said Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at ThinkMarkets.com.As was the case on Tuesday, oil prices rose early before changing course and plunging. If the United Arab Emirates rejects the so-called OPEC+ agreement, it might provide markets with more oil than expected, driving prices even lower. "In the coming months, the oil market rally was likely to reverse anyway. That process may have already started," Razaqzada remarked.

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08 July 06:53

Wall Street edges to records after Fed minutes

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq edged to fresh records Wednesday as the markets digested Federal Reserve minutes signaling a policy change was coming but not imminent.

Minutes of the Fed's policy meeting last month acknowledged that inflation had outpaced expectations and the central bank will need to be ready to pull back on its massive bond-buying programme.

But the Fed did not provide clues on when the shift would happen, and as the stance was consistent with commentary from Fed Chair Jay Powell it did not jolt the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 percent at 34,681.79.

The broad-based S&P 500 also advanced 0.3 percent to 4,358.13, narrowly topping a prior record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite edged up by less than 0.1 percent to 14,665.06 for a third straight record.FHN Financial's Chris Low said the Fed's minutes reflected the central bank's desire to communicate future policy changes.

The central bank "is taking no chances anyone might read these minutes and think policy change is imminent," Low said.

The economy "is recovering faster than participants expected," but there is not yet enough progress "to justify a policy change," Low said.

Besides the Fed, investors kept an eye on the yield of the 10-year US Treasury, which continued to decline - something the Fed minutes indicated is expected to continue.

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07 July 16:42

Rand weakens ahead of Fed minutes

The rand has fallen 1% to R14.38/$ on Wednesday, as markets awaited the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

Investors will scrutinise the minutes from the Fed's policy meeting last month when it indicated policymakers are looking at starting to pull back on stimulus.

They will be looking for any clues on when the central bank will start tapping the brakes on its massive bond buying programme.

- AFP and Fin24 

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07 July 12:25

Nampak lenders agree to review R1 billion deal  

In a statement on Wednesday, Nampak said that its funders have agreed to review a previous deal to cut its large debt burden.

Previously, Nampak’s funders required that it reduces its debt by R1 billion by 30 September 2021, either by selling assets or by raising capital on the market.  

But Nampak says that “based on improved operating results”, it has asked lenders to review this requirement.  

On Wednesday, the company said that, “to do this reassessment”, the funders agreed to extend the deadline they set to review agreements for the sale of Nampak assets. This has been pushed out from 30 June 2021 to 31 August.  

At the end of March, Nampak had a debt burden of almost R4.3 billion (net interest-bearing debt). But the company doubled its interim headline profit from a year before.

07 July 11:35

Steinhoff settlement: Group that represents large SA fund managers withdraws Dutch appeal

Dublin-headquartered Hamilton, which sued Steinhoff on behalf of large South African asset managers, has withdrawn an appeal with a Dutch court, related to Steinhoff's proposed settlement.

Hamilton, acting on behalf of clients like Coronation, Investec and Allan Gray among others, is claiming R14 billion against Steinhoff, Fin24 previously reported.

Hamilton had lodged an appeal against the Amsterdam District Court's ruling on 15 June 2021, that dismissed counter-requests made by the company for alternative measures related to the voting process of the Steinhoff settlement, according to a notice to Steinhoff shareholders issued on Wednesday.

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07 July 10:42

Samsung profit to jump by more than 50% thanks to strong chip prices

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics forecast an expectations-beating jump of more than 53% in second-quarter operating profit Wednesday, thanks to strong chip prices and operations resuming at a key US factory.

The world's biggest smartphone maker said in an earnings estimate that it expected operating profit of around 12.5 trillion won (R158 billion) for April to June, up from 8.15 trillion won a year earlier.

The figures were ahead of the 11 trillion won average of estimates, according to Bloomberg News.

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07 July 10:30

 European stocks rebound at open

European stock markets rebounded at the open on Wednesday, as investors look ahead to minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting for clues on future interest rate hikes.

Traders are looking to see if strong inflation caused by the reopening of economies will push the Fed and other central banks to tighten borrowing costs sooner than expected, which in turn could slow the recovery."

Investors should keep in mind that the Fed's latest meeting minutes are set to be released today," noted Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.The minutes might "provide hints of potential changes in the monetary policy in the short term. Having said that, the minutes are expected to stay dovish as inflation remains under control and the (US) labour market grows at a sustainable pace," he added

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07 July 06:33

Rand under pressure ahead of Fed minutes

After strengthening to below R14.20/$ on Tuesday, the rand came under pressure overnight and was last trading at R14.34 as the dollar strengthened.

Oil prices had briefly spiked Tuesday before falling after the latest talks by OPEC+ crude producers fell apart, ending negotiations on a proposal to boost crude supply.

US oil futures had approached a seven-year peak after the talks were called off but investors quickly shifted course, selling both Brent and West Texas Intermediate futures contracts over concerns about the possible disintegration of efforts to rein in supply.

The trend in oil prices has also fanned fears about inflation, with investors worried that an overheating economy may force central banks such as the US Federal Reserve to hike interest rates earlier than thought.

"There are still concerns about what happens with the Fed tapering and there's lack of traction on the fiscal stimulus side," Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, told Bloomberg News.

"Those uncertainties are just injecting some volatility and then you throw in concerns about peak economic growth. That just feeds into the concerns about - is the best growth behind us?"

Later on Wednesday, the US central bank will receive the minutes of its meeting last month, which will give investors more clues about when the Fed will begin scaling down its large asset purchases, which have supported financial markets.

- AFP

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06 July 16:31

Dow, S&P 500 edge back from records

Wall Street stocks were under pressure early Tuesday after last week's records as investors weighed the latest mixed trends on Covid-19 amid concerns about lofty equity valuations.

Spain's Catalonia region said it will reimpose virus restrictions, while Germany on Monday said it would lift a ban on most travellers from the UK, India and three other countries hit by the Delta variant of Covid-19. Those countervailing dynamics point to the scattered impacts of Covid-19 more than a year into the pandemic and come as Wall Street investors wonder whether there is much more upside in the near-term after the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all finished at records last week.

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06 July 12:29

Brimstone Investment expects upturn in earnings

Brimstone Investment expects to report earnings per share of at least 22.3 cents per share and headline earnings per share of at least 23.2 cents per share for the six months ended 30 June.

The company on Tuesday issued a trading statement - as it expects its financial results to be more than 20% different than that of the comparative period last year.

"Shareholders of Brimstone are hereby advised that for the six months ended 30 June 2021  a reasonable degree of certainty exists that both basic earnings per share  and basic headline earnings per share will be at least 130% higher than reported for the six months ended 30 June 2020," the statement read.

Last year, Brimstone reported a basic loss per share of 74.4 cents and basic headline loss per share of 77.3 cents, for the comparative period.

The half-year results are expected to be released on or about 31 August 2021.


06 July 12:01

Competition Tribunal approves Northam merger

The Competition Tribunal on Monday, unconditionally approved the merger of Northam and Northam Holdings.

"Implementation of the composite transaction remains subject to the fulfilment or waiver of the remaining Zambezi Scheme Conditions, Transaction Conditions and Extended BEE Transaction Conditions," a notice to shareholders read.

"The Competition Tribunal approval represents a significant step in the process of executing on our shareholders' mandate to implement the composite transaction," said CEO Paul Dunne.

"The next key step will be to obtain the relevant Zambezi shareholder approvals on 20 July 2021 and we are pleased with the high level of commitments in place from both Zambezi preference shareholders and Zambezi ordinary shareholders," Dunne said.

06 July 11:15

Oil price hits 2014 peak after OPEC+ talks fail

New York oil struck a 2014 pinnacle on Tuesday after OPEC+ crude producers failed to agree on lifting output despite demand soaring along with the global economic recovery.

Just before 0900 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for August delivery hit $76.98 per barrel, a level last seen in November 2014.

The OPEC+ group on Monday cancelled a planned meeting that was supposed to overcome an impasse between the United Arab Emirates and other members on how to lift output.No new date has been set.

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06 July 09:34

Ninety One signs pledge for investments to support net zero emissions by 2050

Asset manager Ninety One is the first South African signatory to join the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, which supports investments aligned to the global goal of net zero emissions by 2050, or sooner.

Earlier this year, Ninety One had indicated intentions to sign the pledge. In a statement on Tuesday Ninety One said the commitment to the pledge underlines its support of the Paris Agreement and global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Ninety One, the initiative now has a total of 128 investors, including the world's three largest asset managers, that collectively manage $43 trillion in assets.

Signatories commit to prioritise real economy emissions reductions, create investment products aligned to net zero emissions and facilitate increased investment in climate solutions.

Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Ninety One, said the drive to lower emissions includes efforts from the entire world. "In particular, the carbon-intensive emerging market economies need time, encouragement and resources to adjust. Ninety One, as a company with its roots firmly in South Africa, understands this need perhaps better than most. Emerging economies, after all, are not responsible for the bulk of emissions to date," said Du Toit.

06 July 07:38

Oil spikes above $77 amid rare public spate between Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is engaged in a rare public spat with its Emirati allies over a critical oil output deal.

The United Arab Emirates has bitterly opposed a proposed deal by the alliance of oil producing countries to raise production.A failure to reach a deal could drive crude prices sharply higher, to above $77.50 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia is engaged in a rare public spat with its Emirati allies over a critical oil output deal, escalating tensions ahead of another meeting of the OPEC+ alliance on Monday.

The United Arab Emirates has bitterly opposed a proposed deal by the alliance of oil producing countries to raise production, causing a stalemate that could derail efforts to curb rising crude prices amid a fragile post-pandemic recovery."It's the whole group versus one country, which is sad to me but this is the reality," Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told Bloomberg television, suggesting the United Arab Emirates were isolated within the 23-member OPEC+ bloc.

But rising prices have also prompted grumbles. Brent crude climbed above $77.50 a barrel on Monday.

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05 July 18:37

Liberty expects profit boost

Liberty joins others insurers in reporting stronger performance05-07-2021 18:35:00In a trading update released on Monday, Liberty says it had a much better first half in 2021 than last year.

The insurer is in the process of compiling its financial results for the six-month ended in June 2021. It expects its headline earnings and basic earnings per share (EPS) to be more than 20% higher than in 2020.In the first half of 2020, the insurer recorded a headline loss per share of 855.2 cents. Its suffered an interim headline loss of R2.2 billion after setting aside a R3 billion pandemic reserve to prepare itself for Covid-19 death claims, which it topped up with another R73 million at the end of 2020.

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05 July 16:35

Naspers, Prosus fall 6% after Chinese crackdown

China expanded its latest crackdown on the technology industry beyond Didi Global to include two other companies that recently listed in New York, dealing a blow to global investors while tightening the government’s grip on sensitive online data.

In a series of announcements that began on Friday, Beijing ordered all three companies to halt new user registrations and told app stores to remove Didi’s service from their platforms.

The regulatory onslaught came just days after the ride-hailing giant completed one of the biggest US listings of the past decade and within weeks of debuts by the other targeted companies - Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun.

Investors responded by dumping Chinese tech stocks in Hong Kong and sending shares of SoftBank Group Corp., a backer of both Didi and Full Truck, to a seven-month low in Tokyo.

Tencent retreated as much as 4.5%, touching its lowest level this year. On the JSE, Naspers and its subsidiary Prosus, which owns almost 29% of Tencent, both lost more than 6% by Monday afternoon.

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05 July 16:14

Gold regains shine after central bank buying drops to decade low

Central banks may be regaining their appetite for buying gold after staying on the sidelines for the past year.

Central banks from Serbia to Thailand have been adding to gold holdings and Ghana recently announced plans for purchases, as the specter of accelerating inflation looms and a recovery in global trade provides the firepower to make purchases.

A rebound in buying - which had dropped to the lowest in a decade - would bolster the prospects for gold prices as some other sources of demand falter.

Bullion has come under pressure this year as higher bond yields made the non-interest bearing haven seem less attractive to investors. After recovering in April and May, gold fell by the most in more than four years last month as the Federal Reserve turned more hawkish and the dollar strengthened.

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05 July 12:06

Steinhoff slumps

Shares in retailer Steinhoff fell by 16% in early trade on Monday morning, after a court ruled late last week that the company had breached a section of the Companies Act two years ago.Steinhoff shares opened at R2.02 and were changing hands at R1.69 a share at 11:30.

On Friday, Western Cape High Court Judge Lee Bozalek ruled that, in August of 2019, Steinhoff had provided financial assistance to an entity in its stable called Lux Finco 1.

His ruling may impact Steinhoff's plans to conclude a €943 million (roughly R17 billion) settlement agreement with claimants who lost out in its share price plunge that dates from December 2017.


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05 July 12:00

European equities drop at open

European stock markets slid at the open on Monday, as dealers shrugged off earlier gains across most of Asia. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index sagged 0.1% to 7 116.44 points, compared with the closing level on Friday.

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05 July 11:49

Hong Kong market takes a hit

Hong Kong stocks sank Monday as tech firms were hit by news of a crackdown by Beijing on mainland ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and two other US-listed Chinese companies, which raised concerns about further moves against the sector.

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05 July 11:38

Sun International appoints new chairperson

Following the death of Jabu Mabuza, Sun International has appointed Sam Sithole has been appointed as the new chairperson of the company.Sithole is the CEO and co-founder of Value Capital Partners, a material shareholder in Sun International. 

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05 July 11:26

Shift to medical cannabis put 'severe pressure' on Labat 

Industrial investment company Labat Africa – which recently faced potential suspension from the JSE after failing to meet the deadline to submit financial statements for the six months to end February – has now published its reviewed interim results, saying it remains determined to pursue cannabis interests despite bruising losses and a tough regulatory environment.

In a statement published on the JSE Stock Exchange News Service on Monday, Labat, which has completed its transition into the medical cannabis industry, said the shift had put "severe pressure" on the group's finances. It was also recovering from a "painful cash drain" of its fuel retail business, Force Fuel, and had deconsolidated Force Fuel from its audited results for the year ended 31 August 2020. It expects a further slowdown due to the continued lockdown as well as the "continued slow pace" of cannabis regulation in SA, it said.

The results for the six months ended 28 February 2021 showed a total comprehensive loss of R16.4 million versus a comprehensive loss in of R4.8 million in the six months to end February 2020; a loss per share of 4.5 cents against a loss in the previous period of 1.2)cents; and net asset value per share (NTAV) of 17.0 cents per share against a NTAV of 14.8 cents per share in the previous period. Revenue decreased by decreased by R198 million to R21.4 million due to the deconsolidation of the fuel business, while operating profit decreased from a restated profit of R134 000 to an operating loss of R18.1 million as a result of the initial investment in the cannabis business, Labat said. "

Notwithstanding this, Labat Africa’s strategic intent of managing its Cannabis operations from seed to customer and its dedicated focus in this regard ensures that the Company achieves only the best when it comes to technical ability, personnel experience and the art of Cannabis Genetics," it added.

05 July 10:02

Business activity slows amid stricter lockdown in June - survey

Business activity during June slowed, the IHS Markit PMI shows.

The PMI is a measure of private sector business performance. If the index is above the 50-neutral mark, it indicates an improvement. If the index is below the 50-neural mark, it indicates a decline in performance.

The June PMI dropped for a second-consecutive month to 51, compared to 53.2 reported in May. This signals a slow down in the improvement in operating conditions for business. Lockdown restrictions were reintroduced during the month, such as stricter curfew hours, bans on gatherings and alcohol sales - this translated into weaker client demand.

"Output decreased for the first time in six months during June, as the tightening of Covid-19 measures hit customer demand," the report read. The fall in output was the fastest since August 2020.

There were also challenges in supply chains, as respondents could not procure inputs due to global shortages. This negatively impacted their ability to fulfil new orders. In turn, there was a rise in backlogs of work - which supported an uptick in employment. Employment saw fastest rates of growth since November 2012.

Increase in staff led to a rise in salaries and the supply issues also caused input costs to rise due to a lack of availability. "Barring those seen in April and May, the rate of overall input price inflation was the quickest since October 2018," the report read. Firms in turn increased output charges to consumers, however inflation softened to a three-month low, the report indicated.

New business growth stalled in June, following two successive months of solid expansion. There was also a drop in export orders - the first in three months. "Business confidence dropped for the second straight month as concerns grew that Covid-19 restrictions would harm economic activity in the near future," the report read.

05 July 09:59

Sharers in SoftBank tumble as China blocks Didi

Shares in SoftBank Group tumbled on Monday after Chinese regulators ordered app stores to remove Didi Chuxing, run by the recently US-listed ride-hailing giant in which the Japanese firm is the top shareholder.

The government also widened its probe of US-listed tech firms to include Full Truck Alliance, another SoftBank investment.

SoftBank fell 5.4% in Tokyo, the most among stocks on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average and the biggest decline since it reported earnings in May.

The investigations have dealt another blow to the shares of Masayoshi Son’s tech and investing conglomerate, which have lost nearly a third of their value since hitting a record in March.

Despite posting the largest-ever quarterly profit for a Japanese company less than two months ago, investors have been disappointed by a lack of any new share buyback announcements.

"It’s inevitable to see selling from investors who had been pinning their hopes on Didi," said Tomoichiro Kubota, a senior market analyst at Matsui Securities Co. in Tokyo. "If it’s deleted from app stores, it’ll be a very difficult situation."

China’s cyberspace regulator announced the Didi ban on Sunday, just two days after revealing a review of the company. The decision effectively requires the largest app stores in China to strike Didi from their offerings, though the current half-billion existing users can continue to order up rides and other services. Didi said the regulatory move may have "an adverse impact" on its revenue in China. - Bloomberg

05 July 09:41

Rand set to feel the pain as third wave bites

A handful of emerging-market currencies have held onto gains versus the dollar this year. That list may shrink in the coming weeks as the highly contagious delta variant forms a new fault line for developing nations.

Countries that are lagging behind in vaccination rates - such as South Africa and Russia - may feel the pressure as they tighten restrictions that will hurt economic activity, according to Credit Agricole CIB.

Once the best performers of 2021, the rand and ruble were among those that knocked an index of emerging-market currencies lower in June for the first time in three months. "Achievements in terms of vaccination will increasingly be a differentiation factor among emerging markets in the second half," said Sebastien Barbe, head of emerging-market strategy at Credit Agricole. "The impact of the further spread of the virus variants will vary significantly depending on vaccination rates," as well as economic and political factors, he said.

Both the South African rand and Colombian peso are feeling the pain from a spike in Covid-19 cases, which is keeping expectations for tighter monetary policy at bay.

In SA, daily coronavirus cases surged to a record of 26 485, on Saturday. That came more than a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country in the strictest form of lockdown since May 2020. The tighter restrictions are pressuring an economy that’s reeling from its worst contraction in a century, while Colombia’s decision to shelve a plan to raise taxes earned it a rating cut to junk from Fitch Ratings.

The currencies of South Africa and Colombia are the most vulnerable as their central banks aren’t hiking rates "to build up a real rate cushion" against the US, according to Ed Al-Hussainy, a senior interest-rate and currency analyst at Columbia Threadneedle Investments in New York. Adding to the pressure: the prospect of higher fiscal spending and risk of outflows after yield-hungry global investors flocked to the nations’ assets this year, he said. - Bloomberg

05 July 09:36

Kalidas Madhavpeddi announced as Glencore board chair

Kalidas Madhavpeddi will take over as the new chairperson of Glencore, the company announced on Monday.

Tony Hayward is retiring, having been appointed to the board in May 2011 at the time of Glencore's IPO. His tenure on the board had been extended for the second time when it was agreed at the last AGM that he would step down.

Madhavpeddi – who was chief executive of China Molybdenum International (CMOC) for ten years – joined the board of Glencore in February 2020. He has worked in mining for some 40 years. He is currently a non-executive director of Novagold Resources Inc., Trilogy Metals Inc. and Toronto-listed Dundee Precious Metals.

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