Here’s what is happening in the markets:
- It is D-day for Britain as citizens head to the polls to vote in a referendum which will determine whether the nation stays within the European Union – or makes an exit. Most analysts expect a “stay” vote, which has bolstered UK markets, as well as those attached to it. The anticipation of a stay vote has strengthened South Africa’s markets, as investors venture back into riskier climes.
- South African consumer inflation slowed unexpectedly in May, settling at 6.1% – below the 6.4% expected by economists. The saving grace came from an unexpected place: lower fruit prices, which decreased by 10% month-on-month, the biggest drop the sector has seen. Rand appreciation seen in the past month also aided the damper.
- South Africa’s rand marked a fourth straight session of gains against the dollar on Wednesday, aided by a surprise slowing of inflation locally and improved risk conditions abroad. On Thursday it was trading at R14.59 to the dollar, R21.53 to the pound and R16.55 to the euro.
- In global news: Asian stocks were up in hesitant trade on Thursday, as many investors sought shelter in safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and government debt as they braced for Britain’s vote on its fate in the European Union. U.S. stocks dipped in low trading volume on Wednesday.
- Oil prices rose in Asian trading on Thursday, shrugging off a smaller-than-expected decline in U.S. stockpiles, as the market nervously awaited the result of Britain’s “Brexit” vote. Brent’s front-month contract, August, settled down 74 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $49.88 a barrel. U.S. crude futures initially rose to a session high of $50.22 a barrel before slipping to a settlement of $49.13.
In other news: Jimi Matthews‚ the SABC’s acting CEO says its refusal to air footage of violent protests is in line with the Constitution – and that the company has a responsibility to not expose its journalists to dangerous situations.