Fitch confirms Credit Rating as Junk, corrects Outlook to negative ... will Moody's follow?
Today’s decision by Rating Agency Fitch to keep South Africa’s long-term foreign and local currency debt on BB+, the first notch of sub-investment grade (or junk status) did not come as a surprise given the recent fiscal circumstances. But on top of it, Fitch has downgraded the country’s outlook from stable to negative, citing concerns about the Tito Mboweni’s recently announced financial support of Eskom and a persistent low economic growth scratching the border to a technical recession.
All eyes are on whether Moody’s will take a more decisive view on the country’s deteriorating fiscal and economic performance and will follow suit in not to alienate itself through ill-advised ratings regarding South Africa.
South Africa’s Fi…
Mboweni takes from the People and sinks R 59bn into "Black Fiscal Hole" ESKOM
The boost South Africa’s central bank offered the economy by cutting interest rates last week may be fleeting after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni signaled tax rates may have to climb to help bail out Eskom. The debt-laden state power company, seen as the biggest threat to the nation’s economy, will get an extra R59bn over two years and together with lower-than-expected revenue collections, this “will come at a significant cost” to taxpayers, Mboweni told Parliament on Tuesday.
The Reserve Bank made it clear that its 25 basis-point reduction to the key rate can only have a significant impact on an economy that’s forecast to expand just 0.6% this year if it’s complemented by other structural reforms. While Eskom’s finances and its inabi…
Renewable Energy Champion Breytenbach axed in favour of governmental "Greed Elite"
The recent axing of the head of the Independent Power Producer’s office Karen Breytenbach, once celebrated as the champion for Renewable Energy in South Africa, will not only be a major setback to South Africa’s renewable energy programme, but will also send the wrong signals to potential investors and – once again – shows the care-free atmosphere in which the enemies of the state operate.
Breytenbach – who said she was given no reason by the Development Bank of SA or the Department of Energy as to why she had to leave before the end of her contract – had spearheaded the team that had built up the IPP office into a world renowned unit, drawing investment of over ZAR 200bn in renewable energy projects since 2011. She is now punished fo…
Saudi Arabia to invest US$ 10bn into SA Energy Sector
Saudi Arabia has pledged to chip in US$ 10 billion in funds to South Africa’s ailing power sector, according to futures tracker and energy portal Oil Price. The funding is said to be earmarked for refineries, petrochemicals processing and renewable energy projects. It represents a tenth of an earlier US$ 100 billion that was requested from the international investment community to enable upgrades to the country’s “underfunded energy sector”, Oil Price writes.
It added that Saudi’s “motivations for investing in South Africa’s power sector are largely in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which seeks to diversify away from oil dependence and towards foreign economies”. It’s furthermore emphasised that despite “power sector woes that …
Interest Rate Cut good News for Home Owners
The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates by 0.25 percentage points, amid indications that international oil prices could fall further and that slowing global growth could prompt a round of rate cuts by most major central banks. This decision takes the repo rate to 6.5%, the prime lending rate to 10%, and will translate, into a saving of R16 a month per R100,000 borrowed for existing homeowners. On a R1 million loan the saving would be R166 a month and potentially almost R40,000 over R20 years. This rises to savings of R498 a month on a bond amount of R3 million. The change also means that first-time borrowers will now find it easier to qualify for a loan – with the gross household income requirement for a R1 million loan falling from R33,…
Zuma lights verbal Fires at State Capture Commission
Former president Jacob Zuma testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry, July 15, 2019.
“I have been provoked and provoked to the last degree…I have been wanting to save the organisation (the ANC) and the country, but they made stories…they do everything…Some might know for a fact that I know things about them. I have behaved for decades, not played around with intelligence information, I have lived with people who don’t know what I know about them…but these comrades have provoked me…__”
Former president Jacob Zuma’s dramatic claims about plots and conspiracies against him could very well threaten to engulf the ANC in a firestorm of witch hunts and retribution if left unchecked and unchallenged.
Zuma, who for 16 yea…
Interest Rate Cut might be on SARB cards ...
Economists are expecting the SA Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to this week announce a reduced repo rate for the first time since March 2018. The central bank’s recently reappointed governor Lesetja Kganyago is set to announce the repo rate on Thursday in Pretoria at 15:00.
The repo rate is the benchmark interest rate at which the Reserve Bank lends money to other banks. Changes in the repo rate affect the prime lending rate, which is the lowest rate at which banks start lending to clients.
Econometrix chief economist Azar Jammine said in a note there was speculation the Reserve Bank would cut the benchmark rate.
“Much of the expectation surrounding a rate cut is based on the view that the economy is extremely weak an…
State of the Nation Address tonight....
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers tonight his first State of the Nation speech since the ANC extended its quarter-century rule after last month’s election. His address to Parliament in Cape Town is scheduled to begin at 19:00.
Here are five key things to watch out for:
1. A rescue plan for ESKOM
Ramaphosa’s office has said he’ll announce new measures to ease the crisis. Eskom, which supplies most of South Africa’s electricity, has wracked up close to R500bn in debt and is at risk of insolvency.
The utility got a three-year, R69bn bailout in the February budget, but that won’t nearly be enough to stabilise its finances. The National Treasury would probably breach its expenditure ceiling and deficit targets if it’s forced…
Standard Bank now leading lender through Green Governance
While the CEO of FNB counts the remaining peanuts, while Nedbank’s employees still wonder what is so green in their Green Account and ABSA is busy switching between Comedy Channel and Bloomberg on their telly, Standard Bank has taken a big step by setting a precedent for a “Green Board resolution”!
The board of every bank in South Africa should have started this week with a new item on its to-do list: publishing its policy on lending to coal-fired power projects and coal mines. A shareholder resolution to exactly that effect was passed at Standard Bank’s AGM last week, and there is no question that similar requests will be made to every other bank in the country.
“There are of course other banks in South Africa financing coal and f…
The End is coming for SAA....
South African Airways (SAA) has requested another ZAR 4bn from the government in an attempt to keep the struggling airline afloat, according to a report by the Sunday Times. The airline continues to operate at a loss and has a ZAR 3.5bn short-term loan which will be depleted at the end of June 2019, along with a long-term ZAR 9.2bn loan.
SAA board member Martin Kingston said that the board was worried about the state of the economy and how it may impact the government’s decision to bail out the airline. Economist Mike Schussler told the Sunday Times that the airline is “indebted to the nth degree”, and that it probably wouldn’t survive. “The end of the line is coming soon. We are in a deep crisis, we cannot save every SOE and I think …