Here’s what is happening in the markets:
- The Hawks investigation unit has once again come out to clarify that it is not investigating finance minister Pravin Gordhan, but only the so-called ‘rogue unit’ at SARS which was set up under his watch. However, doubts remain, as the National Prosecuting Authority had previously confirmed that a docket had been handed to them seeking Gordhan’s arrest. News around Gordhan vs the Hawks typically has an adverse effect on South African markets.
- MTN has hit another barrier in Nigeria as the country puts the company’s $3.9 billion fine on hold while it investigates the matter. MTN, which has had the fine hanging over its head for the past seven months, has suffered greatly because of the fine – having lost a third of its value on the markets as a result – and will be further frustrated by the delay.
- South Africa’s rand strengthened on Friday, shrugging off renewed dollar strength as technical factors and a recovery in risk appetite globally helped the unit recoup recent losses, while stocks were lifted by demand for commodities. On Monday the rand was trading at R15.64 to the dollar, R22.71 to the pound and R17.56 to the euro.
- In global news, Asian shares rose on Monday after a solid session on Wall Street, while the dollar moved away from recent highs though remained supported as investors bet that the U.S. Federal Reserve was on track to raise rates sooner rather than later.
- Oil prices slipped in Asian trade on Monday on a strong dollar and signs that global crude supply is holding up even as volumes hit by unplanned outages rise to at least five-year highs. Brent futures were down 18 cents at $48.54 a barrel, while US crude futures fell 26 cents to $48.15 a barrel.
In other news: It is D-day for the National Prosecuting Authority to announce its way forward in the Jacob Zuma spy tapes saga. NPA head, Shaun Abrahams is scheduled to announce his decision today following a High Court ruling in April that the 783 charges of corruption against the president were dropped “irrationally”.