Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Extreme weather conditions are causing a headache in the some of the biggest metros in Gauteng. OR Tambo International Airport has issued a warning over delays following tornadoes hitting the Ekurhuleni Metro on Tuesday. Motorists have been warned to make extra time for travel around the city, even though the SA weather service says the thunderstorms have subsided.
- Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan says that South Africa is likely to avoid recession in 2016, though he warned that the country would not reach close to 0.9% growth. Several groups, including the IMF and the Reserve Bank have put a growth forecast at 0-0.1% for 2016, while a currency downgrade has renewed fears of a cut to junk status in December.
- South Africa’s rand weakened against the dollar on Tuesday as appetite for riskier but high yielding assets waned in cautious trade ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision on Wednesday. The rand was trading at R14.36 to the dollar, R18.84 to the pound and R15.76 to the euro.
- In global news: Asian stocks climbed to fresh near one-year highs and the Japanese yen weakened on Wednesday as awaited central bank meetings this week that could see fresh stimulus in Japan and provide clues on U.S. interest rates. U.S. stocks were mixed on Tuesday as investors braced for quarterly scorecards from Apple and Twitter.
- Oil prices dipped in Asian trading on Wednesday as plentiful supplies and slowing economic growth weighed on markets, although some analysts said that the current downtrend would be modest and see a recovery later this year. Brent crude was trading at $44.81, down 6 cents, while U.S. crude CLc1 was at $42.87, down 5 cents.
In other news: SABC journalists who won the right to go back to work on Tuesday will have to wait a bit longer, as the public broadcaster will not allow them back into the fold while it appeals the Labour Court ruling.