Here’s what is happening in the markets:
- The issue of state capture in South Africa is far from over, with the former head of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Themba Maseko on Tuesday saying that President Jacob Zuma had arranged a meeting for him to “help” the Gupta family. Deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, is also expected to participate in an investigation in the matter, detailing the family’s involvement to a panel set up by the ANC’s NEC.
- Following reports by the Mail & Guardian that Jacob Zuma had offered to step down as president of South Africa, the ANC has completely denied that such an offer was ever made. According to the original reports – citing several unnamed NEC members – Zuma told the ANC executive to rather tell him to step down rather than stab him in the back. Media reports ahead of the NEC meeting last week painted a picture of a divided ANC, with several senior politicians looking to give Zuma the boot.
- South Africa’s rand shed as much as 1% against the dollar on Tuesday with riskier emerging markets on the back foot as investors sought safe haven assets in the wake of terror attacks in Belgium. Stocks also fell after a strong rally last week, with technical factors at play and a rebalancing seen after a futures close out and a market holiday on Monday. On Wednesday the rand was trading at R15.25 to the dollar, R21.65 to the pound and R17.10 to the euro.
- In global markets, Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bombers targeted busy transport hubs in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday, killing at least 35 people and injuring 250. Global markets reacted negatively – though stronger than expected – to the news, as tourist and trade markets in Europe sank. This was followed by a drop in US stocks, as investors fled to safe haven assets.
- Oil prices fell in early Asian trading on Wednesday after figures from an industry group showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose last week more than expected, reinforcing concerns that supply continues to exceed demand.
In other news: Durban’s local government paid R1.7 million to host popular singer/rapper Nicki Minaj in the city. The figure is controversial as neither Joburg nor Cape Town paid any money towards Minaj’s tour – which is being handled by a private company – and the total included free tickets for 205 councillors.