Markets: Latest News
Staff, 11:08 am
Data from the big 12 retailers in South Africa show that they are putting their money into store refurbishments and IT instead of African expansion. Compare this to five years ago. The picture was very different. There was talk of aggressive store rollouts. Some South African companies have expanded into Europe and the U.K. to diversify earnings, but when the rand strengthened, those companies lost out. The customer focus is grounded in technology for the Big 12. IT is playing a critical role in investing in customers — building online capability, enhancing efficiency across supply chains and distribution, and reward programs to enhance client insights.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:54 am AFKI Original
As commodity prices have fallen, African manufacturing has increased leverage — and the attention of investors — to garner more foreign investment. Tanzania is probably one of the easier bets if you are following the crowd. Success stories include Kenya-based Catalyst Principal Partners, an East Africa-focused private equity firm which invested in Zenufa Laboratories, a leading Tanzanian pharmaceuticals manufacturer. Catalyst also invested in Chemi Cotex, which makes toothpaste, skin and hair products. Both involve non-food and beverage consumer goods that are manufactured locally. Both have taken market share due to quality products and competitive pricing.
Reuters, 9:48 am
The pool of potential buyers is shrinking that Barclays’ can sell shares to in its African business. Some institutional investors, including pension funds, do not allow them to hold an asset that’s sliding on credit ratings. Barclays is struggling to find one strategic buyer that will satisfy South African regulators and is looking to sell its remaining 50% stake in chunks. More than 80% of its revenue is in South Africa. “Banks are paying the price for political uncertainty that we’ve seen in the country over the past two weeks,” a fund manager said.
Peter Pedroncelli, 1:19 pm AFKI Original
Following the turmoil of the last few weeks in South African politics, and an unpopular cabinet reshuffle imposed by president Jacob Zuma, the country has a new finance minister, with Malusi Gigaba now in charge of treasury. Popular previous minister Pravin Gordhan was axed from the role, and Gigaba is expected to fill the void left by the hard-working MP who Zuma saw as a threat. We take a look at 12 things you might not know about South Africa’s new finance minister, Malusi Gigaba.
Staff, 4:02 pm
When their Kickstarter campaign failed, a brother-sister team switched gears and ran a successful social media campaign selling Africa-inspired swimsuits online. Their swimwear prints include the Apremo-Canon pattern, a Kente design symbolic of resisting foreign domination — something Ghanaians fought beginning in the 15th century against English colonizers. The Ashanti Swimwear platform helps women in the diaspora and Africa dominate in the online e-commerce space so they can be location-independent, said British-Ghanaian Yasmeen Opare, co-founder of Ashanti Swimwear.
Dana Sanchez, 9:34 am
There are just 37 black-owned wine brands in South Africa, the world’s seventh-largest wine producing country. The industry employs 290,000 people at 550-plus wineries. Empowerment and transformation has been slow to increase black ownership and leadership. Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black female winemaker, is a role model and symbol of change. She recently launched her own brand, Aslina wines, named after her grandmother in a rural KwaZulu-Natal village of 1,000 people. The wines are set for export to the U.S. later this year.
Dana Sanchez, 10:34 am
S&P is the first agency to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to non-investment grade. SA’s banks have proved that they can weather storms. “We have 50 percent more capital than in the global financial crisis and all South African banks came through that event fine,” a stakeholder said. March was a record month for trading volume in SA bonds. S&P’s decision doesn’t impact SA’s eligibility in global bond indices yet. But more ratings downgrades and increased trading volumes could. “The real issue is the impact on economic growth, industrial performance and employment,” a wealth manager said. “There is a negative relationship between economic growth and bank assets.”
Reuters, 9:55 am
Zuma fired former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over the weekend. The ANC party is blamed for inequality in a country where 80% of the population is black, but whites own most of the land. New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he will make unpopular choices to oversee radical economic transformation and redistribution of wealth. Gigaba also said said he will stick with budget plans to seek up to $2B per year in foreign funding. “We are not a bunch of wild gunmen running amok, gung-ho into Treasury…We are going maintain the programs that are being implemented,” Gigaba said.
Tom Jackson, 8:48 am AFKI Original
Uber says there’s enough room in Africa for all types of taxi and ride-hailing services. The US-based tech company headed off early competition on the continent, but new competitiors are rising. Uber hypes up the competition, saying it means more choices that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs. One new Uber competitior, Africa Ride, offers drivers a share in the business, saying it empowers them more than Uber does. “Drivers will want to log in on the app which they own and have control over,” said Africa Ride founder Thabo Mashale.
Peter Pedroncelli, 2:18 am AFKI Original
Many countries in Africa have extremely high central bank interest rates compared to most of the world, but there are some who boast lower rates that compare favourably on a global scale. Lower interest rates allow the people of that country to be able to afford loans and pay them back at more favourable rates versus countries where the interest rates are much higher. In comparison, the United States federal reserve has an interest rate of 1 percent, while the United Kingdom’s rate is currently set at 0.25 percent. We take a look at 13 African countries with the lowest central bank interest rates.
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