Here’s what is happening in the markets:
- Following South Africa making out of the S&P ratings assessment still above junk status, finance minister Pravin Gordhan says that the country needs to forget about the ratings and should rather focus on working to turn the economy around. He said that economic growth of 0.6 or 0.7% was “just unacceptable”, as were the low level of job creation and the loss of jobs.
- Telkom on Monday reported a 15.5% increase in headline earnings for the year ended March 2016, while operating revenue climbed 13.9% to R37.3 billion. Normalised profit after tax reached R4 billion, compared to R3 billion for the previous period. The board declared a dividend of 270 cents, up 10% on the previous year’s total dividend.
- South Africa’s rand raced to its firmest in three weeks against the dollar to lead emerging market currencies after employment figures in United States disappointed, cooling chances of a June rate hike by the Federal Reserve Stocks closed higher. On Monday the rand was trading at R15.12 to the dollar, R21.77 to the pound and R17.17 to the euro.
- In global news: Asian shares rose on Monday and the dollar dragged itself off its lowest levels in nearly a month after US non farm payrolls showed the slowest job growth in more than five years, quashing expectations for a near-term U.S. interest rate hike.
- Brent crude oil prices rose to $50 a barrel on Monday, lifted by a plunge in the US-dollar that could spur demand, just as ongoing attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria tighten supplies. Brent crude futures rose as high as $50.10 but retreated to be up 36 cents at $50.00 a barrel. US crude futures were up 41 cents at $49.03 a barrel.
In other news: Additional capacity from Eskom and non-Eskom sources should assure that South Africa has enough power to meet its electricity needs to 2021. South Africa’s power situation – which hit critical levels on 2015 – was one of the key focus points in the S&P assessment.