Criminals hinder R25.5bn of SA building projects

A South African engineering contractors’ lobby group asked the the government to better enforce security as criminals have disrupted or vandalized R25.5 billion ($1.8 billion) of construction projects across the country. Armed gangs “recently” disrupted the R1.65 billion Mtentu Bridge project in the Eastern Cape province, and a R2.4 billion oil-storage investment project at Saldanha in the Western Cape was halted on March 13 after people demanding to be part of the project burnt down properties, the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors said in a March 18 letter…

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CPI inches up to 4.1% year/year in February

South Africa‘s headline consumer inflation quickened to 4.1% year on year in February from 4.0% in January, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday. On a month-on-month basis prices rose 0.8% from a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. Core inflation, which excludes the prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy, was at 4.4% year on year in February, unchanged from the rate in January. On a month-on-month basis core inflation jumped to 1.1% from 0.2% previously.  Source: Money Web

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SA’s FDI inflows reach five-year high in 2018 – Sarb

South Africa‘s foreign direct investment more than doubled in 2018 to reach its highest in five years, the central bank said on Wednesday, giving a boost to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pledge to woo investors to help revive a struggling economy. Africa‘s most industrialised economy has barely grown in the past decade with fiscal missteps and corruption contributing to weak business and consumer confidence. The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said in its quarterly bulletin that foreign direct investment inflows rose to R70.7 billion ($4.88 billion) in 2018 from R26.8 billion the prior year.…

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Sarb likely to hold rates on March 28

The Reserve Bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged next week, and with a weak currency threatening to stoke inflation, it probably won’t cut rates this year, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. Inflation in Africa’s most industrialized economy is currently below the Reserve Bank’s mid-point of its 3 to 6% preference, but the central bank watches consumer prices 12 to 18 months down the line and forecasts are for it to be above that sweet spot. All 24 economists surveyed in the past week said rates would remain…

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Tencent is said to mull bid for $3bn AS Watson stake

Chinese internet giant Tencent is weighing a bid for part of Temasek’s stake in global retailer AS Watson Group, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Singapore state investment company is considering selling around a 10% stake in AS Watson for about $3 billion, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. That’s just under half of its 25% holding. Tencent may team up with some investment funds for an offer for the stake in AS Watson, which is a unit of…

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Mozambique braces for more floods as cyclone deaths climb

Mozambique’s death toll from flooding in the wake of Cyclone Idai jumped to at least 202 people, as relief workers struggled to deal with the devastation wrought by one of southern Africa’s most powerful recorded storms. Heavy rain fell over western Mozambique and neighboring Zimbabwe and is forecast to continue until the end of the week. Mozambique’s cabinet announced the increased death toll, which stood at 182 earlier in the day. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said the number could exceed 1,000 in his country. In Zimbabwe at least 98 have…

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Gates joins Bezos in 12-digit club as only centibillionaires

Bloomberg tracks the fortunes of some 2 800 billionaires. Of those, 145 are worth at least $10 billion, making them decabillionaires. Now, the world contains two centibillionaires simultaneously. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, once the world’s richest person, has again eclipsed the $100 billion threshold, joining Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos in the exclusive club, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Gates’s fortune, now $100 billion on the nose, hasn’t reached such heights since the dot-com boom, when Bezos was only beginning his march up the world’s wealth rankings. The Amazon founder is…

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Wall Street gives up gains on news of troubled trade talks

The benchmark S&P 500 index ended little changed on Tuesday as investor optimism regarding the Federal Reserve’s expected affirmation of its dovish policy stance was offset by reports of fault lines emerging in ongoing US-China trade negotiations. Financial stocks weighed on all three major US stock indexes, which gave up early gains following a Bloomberg report that China is pushing back against American demands in trade talks. The blue-chip Dow snapped a four-day winning streak, while the Nasdaq limped back into positive territory just before the closing bell. “Trade fear…

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South Africans left without answers as blackouts drag on

South Africans looking for signs of an end to the latest round of power cuts were left disappointed after the minister responsible for utility Eskom said he doesn’t have answers yet. The country will on Wednesday face its seventh day of rotating blackouts — needed to avoid a total grid collapse — as the state-owned company struggles to bring faulty generating units back online. Eskom will cut 2 000 megawatts from the grid from 11 p.m. on Tuesday until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, when it will escalate that to 4…

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SA structured products deliver mixed results

According to figures from global online resource Structured Retail Products (SRP), R5.4 billion was invested in structured products in South Africa last year. This was down from R8.3 billion in 2017. Structured products are investments designed to deliver a predetermined return, usually supported by a degree of capital protection. This is most often based on the performance of an underlying equity market. For example, Investec recently offered a three-year product referencing the Euro Stoxx 50 Index. If at the end of the three years the index is negative, investors are…

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