SABC’s 3-month cover; Comair gets SAA boost; Rand breaks 14; more SARB fire dousing

By Linda van Tilburg

  • The Acting Chief Operating Officer at the SABC, Chris van Rooyen says the fate of the public broadcaster now lies in the hands of the banking sector. His statement came after Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told Parliament that she rejected the turnaround strategy proposed by the SABC. Van Rooyen said the Department of Communications together with Treasury and the SABC are working together to allay the concerns by the five banks they approached over awarding the public broadcaster a R3.6bn guarantee. He admitted that 48% expenditure on employment was an indication that the SABC was bloated. Earlier the SABC CFO Yolande van Biljon said there was no Day Zero at the public broadcaster but she added… for the next three months.
  • A sharp increase of more than 20% is expected in Comair’s earnings thanks to a court settlement. It relates to SAA’s anti-competitive travel agent incentive schemes. Earnings are expected to increase by 277.3 cents. The effects of the settlement will be disclosed fully in the airline’s financial results for the year that ended on the 20th of June 2019. Shareholders have been advised that earnings per share (EPS) of 69.8 cents and headline earnings per share of 69.5 cents are expected. Comair shares rose by almost 3.5% after the trading statement.
  • The rand strengthened to below R14 to the dollar yesterday, its best level against the greenback since late April. The day’s trade opened at R14.05  and the Rand was trading at R13.95 by early afternoon. It ended the day at R14.03. This after growing speculation that the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are considering rate cuts soon. Added to this; hope of a US-China deal is fading.
  • On the JSE, Lewis Group shares rose by 3.78%. Other major movers on the day were KAP Industrial, Motus and Coronation Fund Managers which all climbed by more than 3%, while mining shares dropped with Assore, African Rainbow Minerals, South32, Kumba iron Ore and Anglo Platinum all trading lower by around 2%. The JSE ended the day marginally softer.
  • Glencore is one of at least three companies interested in buying Rio Tinto’s aluminium assets in Iceland, Sweden and the Netherlands for up to $350m. Glencore does not directly own aluminium assets and has off-take agreements with other producers including US Century Aluminium in which it has a 40% stake and Russia’s Rusal. Reuters sources put Glencore agreements to buy aluminium from smelters around the world at a total of 3 million tonnes.
  • Nigeria has told its banks that they should use at least 60% of their deposits for loans by the end of September. Those that don’t will have their cash-reserve requirements increased, meaning they will be forced to park more money at the central bank. Nigeria’s banks are some of the most reluctant lenders of the major emerging markets with a loan-to-deposit ratio below 60% compared to 90% in South Africa.
  • In South Africa, Deputy-Finance Minister David Masondo defended his recent comments where he questioned the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank in Parliament and said it was not meant to influence the Reserve Bank or usurp its powers. It prompted Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago to issue a joint statement stressing that the Treasury is not responsible for monetary policy, only fiscal policy and to again emphasise the independence of the Reserve Bank.
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