Zuma’s Zondo song and dance; Eskom treasurer jumps ship; Zim inflation heads for 200%; China boosts rand

By Jackie Cameron

  • Former president Jacob Zuma appeared at the Zondo commission to discuss allegations of corruption and state capture. South Africa is abuzz with speculation about what Zuma’s body language, regular coughs and his song and dance say about whether he is telling the truth.
  • Andre Pillay, who joined Eskom in 2011 and was made treasurer in 2016, will leave at the end of August. CEO Phakamani Hadebe leaves at the end of the month. Eskom also needs to hire a chief restructuring officer, who will be largely in charge of splitting the utility into three separate entities, adds Bloomberg. More on that, on BizNews.com.
  • Inflation in Zimbabwe hits an eye-watering 176%, according to data released on Monday. This is up from 97.85% in May, statistics agency ZIMSTATS said of the highest rate since runaway money-printing and associated hyperinflation forced the country to abandon its currency in 2009. With a vast chunk of economic activity being in the informal sector, many analysts suspect the inflation numbers are significantly understated, according to Reuters.
  • China’s second-quarter annual GDP growth fell to a 27-year low of 6.2%, as expected, but its quarterly growth reading of 1.6% beat forecasts, says Reuters. June reports on industrial production, retail sales and urban investment were above expectations. World shares rose towards an 18-month high following the data, denting appetite for gold, reports Reuters. Also contributing to a firmer rand, say analysts, were bets the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next week, it said.
  • The big winner on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Monday was mining holding company Assore, which moved up nearly 8%. The big loser was pharmaceutical company Aspen, which shed nearly 4% of its stock price.
  • Currencies: Late on Monday R13.92 would buy you one greenback, the rand was trading at R17.44 to the British pound and at R15.68 to the Euro.