Flash briefing: SA airlines set for take-off; SA Covid warning; China; Richemont; Sasol; famine looms in Zim, Moz

* SA airlines set for take-off. New airline Lift opens its website this week for bookings from December, with the Joburg-Cape Town and Joburg-George routes, says BusinessLive, quoting former Comair joint CEO Gidon Novick, the ‘face’ of the new airline. Its ‘lift-off’ comes as Kulula switches on its ticket sales. It has emerged from Comair’s business rescue process to launch flights from December 1, says the site. Meanwhile, Discovery Vitality has provided an added boost to the travel and tourism sectors, with a generous reward allocation and discount system. For more on that, catch up on the BizNews Inside Covid-19 podcast. 

* Is a Joe Biden victory good for SA? Sasfin’s David Shapiro is quoted as saying: “There’s absolutely no doubt that a Biden victory will ease global tensions. We will be able to talk to Biden; we couldn’t talk to Trump. And that has to be good for Africa.” You can hear more about David Shapiro’s views on global developments and how they impact on stocks, at the Rational Radio Webinar with Alec Hogg, every Monday at noon, for BizPremium subscribers.

* China’s economy continues to recover from its contraction earlier this year, showing the economic benefits from swift control of the pandemic and a rapid resumption of manufacturing, reports Bloomberg. While Europe and the US face renewed surges of Covid-19 infections, in China factories are capitalising on a global rush for medical equipment and work-from-home technology. That trend was underlined in trade data released Saturday, which show a V shaped recovery. China’s economic growth is back in positive territory after plunging earlier this year.

* Zimbabwe, Mozambique in hunger crisis. The world’s hunger problem is worsening and some nations in Africa and the Middle East could soon slip into famine as conflict, economic hardship, weather extremes and the Covid-19 crisis limit access to food, says Bloomberg. That’s the warning from the United Nations, which said areas of Burkina Faso, northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen face famine if conflict escalates and humanitarian access is further cut in the coming months. Food insecurity is rising globally and another 16 countries are at high risk of more acute hunger, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme said. Its map of hot spots includes South Africa’s northern neighbours Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

* Is the risk of a tightening up on Covid-19 restrictions increasing? South African scientists monitoring wastewater in the Western Cape province have detected spikes of the coronavirus in the last three weeks as concerns grow in government that a lack of compliance with health guidelines may trigger a second wave, reports Bloomberg. Meanwhile Johnson & Johnson will imminently start clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa after getting regulatory approval, according to the co-chair of the study in the country. The approval was received from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority on Thursday, Glenda Gray, who is also the president of the South African Medical Research Council, told Bloomberg. It will take about six weeks to enrol 12,000 volunteers, she said. The South African study for the single-shot vaccine is part of a late-stage trial of as many as 60,000 people globally that was initially expected to yield results by year-end, the company said in September. The global study was paused in October after an unexplained illness in one of the participants. J&J has signed an agreement to have 300 million doses of the vaccine made a year in South Africa by Aspen Pharmacare Holdings if approved

* Swiss luxury group Richemont, which is investing in US-listed fashion platform Farfetch alongside Alibaba, was among the best performers on the Johannesburg stock exchange at the close of the trading week.  Richemont’s shares rose 7% in morning trading Friday, says Wall Street Journal. “First-half results that showed booming sales in mainland China and a recovery in lucrative jewellery sales certainly helped. But there is also speculation that some kind of future tie-up with Farfetch, which operates a fast-growing online marketplace, could allow it to unload digital retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter,” says the business website. “The market’s hope is that this will be an opportunity for Richemont to find a way out of the online distribution business,” says Luca Solca, luxury -goods analyst at Bernstein. For more on that, ready the full story from Wall Street Journal at BizPremium.

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