Here’s what is happening in the country:
- The 2016 municipal election promises to be the most contested election in the country since 1994. New stats released by the IEC show that a total of 200 parties and more than 61,000 candidates will contest the elections, which is to be held on 3 August. There were 53,000 candidates in the 2011 elections.
- Following riots in Tshwane in the past few weeks over the ANC’s mayoral candidate list, a new wave of violent protest has erupted in the Western Cape for the same reason. Buses were set on fire in Cape Town as protesters burnt tyres and stoned passing vehicles, expressing anger over the ANC’s election lists.
- South Africa’s rand gained as much as 2.5 percent on Wednesday as emerging markets rallied from a Brexit-triggered collapse and demand for riskier assets continued to recover. Stocks were also firmer, led by gold firms lifted by safe-haven demand. On Thursday the rand was trading at R14.88 to the dollar, R19.96 to the pound and R16.55 to the euro.
- In global news: Asia stocks rose on Thursday, tracking an overnight rally on Wall Street, while the safe-haven Japanese yen was held in check as global markets regained a semblance of calm after the Brexit shock. Wall Street recorded big gains for a second day on Wednesday as investors continued to scour for bargains.
- Oil prices fell in early trade on Thursday, with Brent futures struggling to defend $50 per barrel as fears over strike outages in Norway faded and as Nigeria’s production improved. International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $50.10 per barrel, down 51 cents, while U.S. crude futures were down 38 cents at $49.50 a barrel.
In other news: The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), has released its latest food price barometer, showing that food prices in June were down from price is May, showing some relief for consumers – however prices were still up over a three month period.