Here’s what you need to know in South Africa today:
- The IEC is continuing to count votes from the 2016 municipal elections and after millions of votes have been tallied, the ANC is shown to be ahead nationally, with the DA having gained significant support. While the final result is some ways away, the DA has made inroads in regions where it received no votes in the 2014 elections – and enjoyed an early lead in Nelson Mandela Bay. You can follow the live results here.
- South African Airways has another scandal looming as a new call for bids into lease agreements with the airline apparently seeks to artificially pull black-owned third parties into the mix. The group says it will only look at bids from leasers that are 51% black-owned – when the most established and reputable leasers are international groups. These groups can partner with a black-owned company locally to be considered.
- South Africa’s rand lost some ground against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday with traders taking a cautious stance ahead of local government elections on Wednesday and global economic data later in the week. Wednesday, markets were closed for the national election public holiday. On Thursday the rand was trading at R13.90 to the dollar, R18.50 to the pound and R15.49 to the euro.
- In global news, the British pound edged up on Thursday as investors counted on the Bank of England to cut interest rates to a record low, while a rebound in oil prices from four-month lows lifted Asian stocks. Wall Street advanced modestly on Wednesday after a sharp rise in oil prices boosted energy shares.
- Oil prices rose early on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session following a large draw on U.S. gasoline inventories. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading at $41.15 per barrel, up 32 cents, or 0.8 percent, after rising 3.3 percent and back over $40 the previous session. International Brent crude futures were trading at $43.28 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.44 percent.
In other news: Negotiations in the ongoing fuel strike have deadlocked, with no end in sight for the move that has caused many fuel stations to run dry. Thursday marks day 8 of the strike, which involves 15,000 workers. They are seeking a 9% pay increase, while employers are offering only 7%.