Here is what’s happening in the markets:
- Finance minister Pravin Gordhan is expected to answer the questions posed to him by the Hawks investigative unit, over the so-called rogue spy unit at SARS. The minister has so far resisted pressure from the Hawks on the matter, but reports indicate he will meet the deadline – though likely won’t answer all the questions. His answers will give an indication whether an end to the standoff between the two parties – which is hurting South Africa’s economy – is in sight.
- South African motorists will face another blow as the petrol price is expected to increase even further in April, thanks to the national energy regulator granting Transnet a 23% tariff increase. The increase translates to a petrol price hike of 5.4 cents, which on top of the 30 cents fuel levy hike, and an under-recovery of over 46 cents in international prices, means motorists can expect a 82 cent – 90 cent hike at the pumps.
- South Africa’s rand gained on Tuesday following the long Easter weekend, rising alongside other emerging currencies as risk sentiment recovered ahead of a speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. On Wednesday, the rand strengthened to R15.13 to the dollar, R21.77 to the pound and R17.07 to the euro.
- In global markets, Asian shares rallied on Wednesday as markets pared back expectations for how fast and how far US interest rates might rise this year, bruising the dollar and boosting sovereign bonds. Meanwhile, a new Ipsos poll has shown that the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union saw its lead over the rival ‘out’ campaign fall sharply in the last month.
- Oil futures rebounded in Asian trade on Wednesday, buoyed by a less than expected build in crude oil stockpiles last week. A weakening dollar also lent some support but concern that a two-month rally was fading in an oversupplied market put a ceiling on gains. Brent oil climbed 28 US cents to $39.42 a barrel, while US crude rose 38 US cents to $38.66 a barrel.
In other news: Capitec bank has reported a 26% rise in full-year profit, up to R3.2 billion. The bank also bolstered its client base adding over 1 million new clients in 2015, taking its total to 7.3 million people.