Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 28.8 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 921,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,579 new cases, taking the total reported to 649,793. Deaths have reached 15,447 (an increase of 20), while recoveries have climbed to 577,906, leaving the country with a balance of 56,440 active cases.
- Worse than expected: Finance minister Tito Mboweni says that South Africa’s economy will perform worse than currently projected, with GDP likely to sink further than the -7% currently expected by the National Treasury. Given the economy’s poor performance in the second quarter – which crashed harder than most economists expected – Mboweni said that government would step up operations and implement its plans to aid economic recovery. [Reuters]
- International travel: Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says that international travel will soon be open, with the minister saying that the National Coronavirus Command Council is currently discussing plans to open borders. Weekend reports pointed to borders being opened regionally for the rest of Africa, with concerns still lingering around Europe and other countries where Covid-19 infections have hit a second wave. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation some time this week. [ENCA]
- Stolen data online: The personal data of millions of South Africans stolen from credit group Experian has now been found online in more places. The data was discovered on file transfer site WeSendIt. The data was previously discovered on the dark web, as well as some other file hosting websites. The stolen data contains the private details of some 24 million South Africans, with the data of 800,000 businesses. The banking details of over 28,000 businesses were also in the stolen data. [TimesLive]
- Relief: Despite suffering due to the months of lockdown and the shutdown of the South African economy, the country’s banks have emerged battered, but still kicking from the peak of the Covid-19 crisis. Headline earnings are down, and loan defaults are up significantly, but the financial results of the big banks show that they will pull through the crisis – which is good news for the South African economy as a whole. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand gained on Friday, sjhaking off negative news on the domestic economy from earlier in the week, with yield-hungry investors supporting demand for the currency. This week, eyes will be on the central banks, with news expected from the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and the South African Reserve Bank. The rand starts the week trading at R16.70 to the dollar, R19.79 to the euro and R21.42 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]