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Smooth and steady

14 September 2004 Angelo Coppola

The Nedcor Economic Unit reports that the rand extended its gains against the US dollar, closing firmer at R6,60 from the previous week’s close of R6,66.

However, it lost some ground against the euro, easing to R8,12 on Friday from R8,05, while closing a touch firmer at R11,87 from R11,88 to the British pound.

Bond prices closed higher, with the yields on the longer-dated R153 2010 and the R194 2008 falling to 8,70% and 8,39% respectively from 8,94% and 8,54%.

The FTSE/JSE all-share index ended the week marginally firmer at 11226,8 from 11223,9 following a strong rally over the past few weeks. The resources index managed a small gain of 0,2% to close at 10982,1 from 10956,1, while the gold index was 2,0% higher at 1943,6.

Financials were also slightly higher at 10750,6 from 10746,7, while industrials bucked the trend, ending 0,2% lower at 9389,1 from 9410,4.

According to figures released by the South African Reserve Bank, gross gold and foreign exchange reserves increased by US$240million to US$12,0billion in August.

Foreign capital inflows continued despite the interest rate cut in mid-August, helping the Reserve Bank improve the international liquidity position by a further $175million to US$8,551billion.

Modest improvements in the average dollar gold price and gold holdings also helped the dollar value of gross reserves, while the rand value of reserves increased sharply to R79,2billion from R72,7billion in July due to the depreciation of the rand during the month.

Retail trade sales for June, which rose by 10,0% y-o-y from 8,2% in May, provided continued evidence of strong consumer spending.

Relatively low inflation and interest rates as well as positive consumer confidence contributed to the continued increase in consumer spending.

Strong earnings growth by retailers is also an indicator of the buoyancy in consumer spending. For the second quarter, retail trade sales are reported to have been 8,9% higher compared with the first quarter of 2004 and 9,1% stronger in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

The second draft amendments to Regulation 28 will allow retirement funds to allocate up to 45% of their assets to SA infrastructure, with a further 10% for rest of Africa; but the equity & offshore caps remain unchanged. What are your thoughts on the proposal?

ANSWER

Infrastructure? You mean cash returns with higher risk!?!
Infrastructure cap is way too high
Offshore limit still needs to be raised
Who cares… Reg 28 does not apply to discretionary savings
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