SA gears up for free trade; Foreigners dump SA stock; Bok fever dampens volumes; Trump tax blow

By Jackie Cameron

  • The African Continental Free Trade Area, will be a “game changer” for South Africa, Ramaphosa said in his weekly letter to citizens Monday. Africa’s most-industrialised economy is “well-placed” to benefit due to its established manufacturing base, developed infrastructure and deep financial markets, he said.
  • Clicks surged the most in 11 years in Johannesburg trading after the retailer said its full-year earnings would rise as much as 18%, despite the tough conditions confronting South African consumers, says Bloomberg.  Profits have been boosted by a stronger performance in the second-half of the year, the Cape Town-based company said Monday. It is due to announce full results on Oct. 24. South Africa’s economy is stuck in its longest downward cycle since 1945, with business confidence at its lowest in more than three decades.
  • It could be a quiet day on the JSE on Tuesday, when the Springboks take on the Canadians in Kobe, just four days after beating Italy 49-3 on Italy. Johannesburg stock exchange volumes dropped to less than half their average for the previous 20 sessions during the first half of the game. South Africa rushed to an early lead and won 49-3, reports Bloomberg.
  • Foreigners offloaded South African stocks at the fastest pace in two years last week, as worries about the state of the global economy helped spur an exit from riskier assets, reports Bloomberg. Offshore investors were net sellers of R10.7bn of the country’s equities in the five days ending Oct. 4, based on figures from Johannesburg stock exchange operator JSE. That’s the heaviest week of outflows since September 2017. Appetite for South African equities has been hurt by concerns about global growth, the prolonged trade war and a moribund local economy. A forthcoming credit-rating review by Moody’s Investors Service has added to caution among non-resident investors.
  • Sizwe Nxedlana has been appointed CEO of Ashburton Investments, the asset management arm of the FirstRand group, with immediate effect. Sizwe replaces former CEO, Boshoff Grobler, who last month moved to a new role in FirstRand Group Treasury.
  • President Donald Trump won a last-minute reprieve from a court order that would have forced his accountants to immediately hand over his tax filings and other financial records. But, continues Bloomberg, he must still persuade an appeals court to reject the ruling against him, which called Trump’s claims of immunity “repugnant” to the US Constitution. A federal judge in New York ruled early Monday that Trump can’t stop his accountants, Mazars USA LLP, from turning over eight years of taxes and other financial documents to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, whose office is investigating whether the Trump organisation falsified business records related to hush-money payments.