Here is what’s happening in the markets:
- Zuma opponents are celebrating Thursday’s Constitutional Court ruling against the president. An emergency meeting was called by the ANC’s top six last night to discuss the implications of the ruling, which lashed both Zuma and members of parliament that rubber-stamped a report absolving him of any liability in the Nkandla matter. The DA has moved to have the president impeached, and to reinstate corruption charges against him.
- South Africans should brace themselves for even higher prices in the coming months as the producer price index (PPI) spiked by 8.1% in February, and analysts point to a 20% hike in food prices coming our way. The PPI measures the price of goods as they leave the factory, and has been driven upwards by the tough economic conditions.
- South Africa’s rand rallied to its firmest in four months on Thursday, shrugging off mixed data after the country’s top court ordered the President Jacob Zuma to repay the state for some upgrades to his private home. While many attribute the gain to the Constitutional Court ruling, some analysts say it has more to do with movement in the global markets. On Friday the rand was trading at R14.78 to the dollar, R21.20 to the pound and R16.82 to the euro.
- In global news, Asian shares and the dollar both lost more ground on Friday as investors began the new quarter in a cautious mood, with glimmers of life in China’s economy offset by a darkening mood in Japan. Meanwhile, Britain’s royal family is “seriously considering” intervening in the referendum debate with an announcement that it supports UK remaining in the European Union, the Guardian reported, citing a senior source close to official figures.
- Oil futures fell in Asian trade on Friday as oversupply and a strengthening dollar weighed on sentiment, although another fall in US oil output in January helped to limit the losses. Brent crude for June delivery fell 46 US cents to $39.87 a barrel, while US crude futures dropped 50 US cents to $37.84 a barrel. The latest local data shows that the SA fuel price will be increasing by 87 and 90 cents for 93 and 95 grade petrol, and 98 cents for diesel.
In other news: Nedbank – whose CEO Mike Brown is the highest-paid retail banking executive in the country – is being forced by shareholders to review its executive pay policy, and cut back on bonuses. Brown earned R29 million in bonuses last year, despite the bank’s muted performance compared to its peers.