An update on interest rates and corporate action

Consumer inflation surprised to the downside in August, resulting in no interest rate hike by the SA Reserve Bank in September. The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 4,9% in August, lower than the previous month’s 5,1% and the expected rise of 5,2%. The rand firmed on this news, strengthening to R14,41 to the dollar from R14,8917. The dollar had gained 10,69% against the rand in August amid global risk-off trade as a result of concerns about an escalated global trade war between the US and China. An increase of R1,10 a litre is expected in the petrol price (R1,35 a litre for diesel) in October owing to a rise in the oil price coupled with a weak rand.

It was interesting, and shocking, to see how government tried to convince the banks to keep the Gupta accounts open. The banks were all called to meetings at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters, where secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy, Jessie Duarte (both of whom are currently on the ANC executive), questioned them on why they had closed the Gupta accounts. Fortunately, the two banks that accepted the invitation to meet, namely Nedbank and Standard, did not budge from their decision.

Aspen is down 36% in five days. So, either the market had a ridiculously positive view of their prospects before their latest results, or the market is just so jittery that they wanted to sell something, anything, and it happened to be Aspen. Crazy!

Naspers will be spinning off Multichoice, to be listed separately, and Investec will be spinning off their asset management business. This is positive for investors, who will benefit from some value unlock and will be able to decide which business to keep after the separation.

And then, the clincher: the news that Comair, which has been operating Kulula and British Airways in SA, has been profitable for 72 years. What an embarrassment for SAA, which has to ask South African taxpayers for billions of rands every year merely to stay operational!

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By continuing to browse, you agree to our use of cookies