Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global cases of Covid-19 have hit over 17.9 million confirmed, with the death toll at 685,000. In South Africa, confirmed cases have risen to 511,485, with deaths climbing to 8,366. Recoveries have also increased to 347,227, leaving a balance of 155,892 active cases.
- IMF loan: Questions remain over the reasoning for the IMF granting South Africa a R70 billion loan, with economists pointing out that the country technically didn’t need it for the reasons the IMF stated. In granting the loan, the finance group said it was to help fill the urgent balance of payment needs as a result of Covid-19. However, stats show South Africa is facing a historic current account surplus related to these specific payments. This leads economists to believe that the loan serves more in political plays within the ANC than anything else. [Mail & Guardian]
- Too little, too late: Settlements and assistance from South African insurers come too late to help many of the businesses they rejected – while the money on offer will do little to help the businesses that do qualify from salvaging operations. This is according to the CEO of Insurance Claims Africa, which represents around 600 affected businesses. Many insurers require policies to be active to qualify for help – but businesses have long had them lapse, due to the lockdown destroying their operations. Others will still have to resort to lay offs and closure to survive. [Moneyweb]
- School food: While schools remain closed for a Covid-19 related break until 24 August, the feeding programme remains operational, the education department says. After weeks of confusion around how this will work, the department now says that food will be available for learners at their nearest school – even if it’s the school the do not attend. Parents must accompany learners to collect the food, and normal social distancing measures apply. [ENCA]
- Rethink the ban: SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) president and CEO Dr Glenda Gray says that the alcohol ban has served its purpose, and that government needs to rethink its implementation to now focus on saving the livelihoods of those it is directly affecting. Thousands of workers’ jobs are at risk within the alcohol industry, while other industries tied to it – such as restaurants – are also facing crisis over the inability to sell. [Business Day – paywall]
- Markets: A rebound in the dollar late last week saw the rand give up significant ground, as markets continue to dwell on uncertainty regarding trade tensions, US elections and recovery, as well as rising virus numbers. We start the day in risk-off terrain at R17.07 to the dollar, R20.09 to the euro and R22.34 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]