Flash Briefing: Tiso Blackstar billion rand deal with Lebashe; Glencore shares drop; Recession fear but investment flows in; Fuel price to drop; Swiss stocks barred from EU trading

By Linda van Tilburg

  • Tiso Blackstar has announced the sale of its media, broadcast and content businesses in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to the Lebashe Investment Group for R1 billion. Their publications include the Sunday Times, Business Day and Financial Mail. Lebashe has former deputy finance minister Tshepo Mahloele as its chair. Mahloele said in a statement that they were excited as long term investors about the transaction and although the media industry was undergoing disruption, he believed their assets are generating sustainable revenues that would withstand change in the medium term. He said it was their plan to support the editorial team with an advisory council made up of eminent local and international persons. The aim is to focus on the growth of quality journalism.
  • Glencore shares fell as at least 19 illegal miners were killed when part of a copper and cobalt mine operated by Glencore subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo collapsed. Shares in Glencore closed 5% down on the FTSE 100 and on the JSE they took an 8.3% knock. Glencore said the incident was not linked to its operations or activities and it would have no impact on production. The JSE all share index closed softer, while Amplats shares were down more than 4%. Gold miners gained again with AngloGold shares rising by 2.6%.
  • The Rand firmed to its best level in five weeks to R14.13 at one point yesterday and it close at R14.14. The possibility of a trade deal between the United States and China lifted the Rand as the two super powers are said to be closer to a deal to bring an end to their trade war. Statistics South Africa says producer inflation for May showed a slight improvement to 6.4% from 6.5% in April. While most of the attention will be on presidents Xi and Trump, the South African delegation at the G20 summit in Japan plans to put protectionism and unilateralism on steel and aluminium exports on the table.  South Africa’s Director-General Anil Sooklal says South Africa has been directly affected by these measures and have lost in the region of 8,000 to 10, 000 jobs in these industries. President Ramaphosa has also arrived in Japan for the summit.
  • July could bring good news for motorists as the Automobile Association expects that lower international oil prices and an improvement in the rand have set up a substantial reduction in the fuel price. The AA expects a decrease of 86 cent a litre for petrol and 68 cents for diesel while paraffin could drop by 58 cents.
  • South Africa’s economy remains stuck in its longest downward cycle since 1945, adding to the risk that it may fall into its second recession in a year. The economy entered the 67th month of a weakening cycle in June, according to the Reserve Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin released last night. That is after gross domestic product contracted the most in a decade in the three months through March. Bloomberg reports that weak business and factory sentiment added to a risk of a recession. But the South African Reserve Bank reported today that South Africa’s foreign direct investment has swung from outflows in the final quarter of last year to inflows in the first quarter. FDI inflow totalled 11.7 billion rand in the first quarter of the year from outflows of 8.2 billion rand in the last quarter of 2018.
  • News from overseas is that Swiss stocks will be barred from trading in the European Union from next week after talks on a political agreement between the two sides ended in deadlock. The London Stock Exchange has warned investors that they could be forced to de-list Swiss stocks from next week and it would mean that the exchange could halt trading in as many as 254 equity securities issued by Swiss company. Aquis Exchange and UBS have issued similar warnings.