Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 38.2 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,087,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,877 new cases, taking the total reported to 696,414. Deaths have reached 18,151 (a daily increase of 123), while recoveries have climbed to 626,898, leaving the country with a balance of 51,365 active cases.
- Recovery plan: President Cyril Ramaphosa will today outline his economic recovery plan to pull South Africa out of the pits of the Covid-19 lockdown. The plan is the result of extensive deliberation between government and its social partners, including business and labour. He will present the plan virtually to parliament today at 14h00. The plan has leaked to several media outlets, detailing recommendations for tax hikes and other economic reforms. [Parliament]
- Budget delay: Some economists say that there is no need for concern over the delay of the 2020 medium term budget policy statement, noting that it would only be worrying if the delay was longer than a week. Because the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown put the country in an anomalous position, scrambling to find funds, an extension to deal with budgetary concerns isn’t unheard of. In 2019, the budget was delayed by a week to make room for the finance minister’s travel requirements – so the delay should not be overplayed. [Mail & Guardian]
- GDP recovery: South Africa is heading for a record quarter on quarter jump in GDP in Q3 of 2020, as consumer spending picks up from the worst of lockdown and economic activity starts getting back to normal. However, economists warn that this recovery will be misleading, as it is part of the balance in the economy, following a record decline in GDP in the second quarter. South Africa’s economy is still without tourism, and currently being supported by financial aid and additional social grants, which skews the data. [Moneyweb]
- Dodgy Eskom deals: The Special Investigating Unit has uncovered R6 billion worth of contracts at Eskom that were done with its employees. 135 employees were identified doing business with the utility, while it also uncovered R44 million worth of kickbacks paid to Eskom officials in relation to contracts for the Kusile power station. More than 5,500 Eskom employees have been referred to the utility for disciplinary proceedings for, among other things, not declaring their financial interests or doing business with the entity. [EWN]
- Markets: The global environment remains unchanged with the focus on the US elections and potential stimulus. Chinese CPI slowed in September and PPI declined by more than expected, while industrial production, employment and retail sales are yet to be released. They will be followed by US jobless claims later today. The rand continues in a steady range of R16.40-R16.58 to the dollar, starting Thursday at R16.58 to the dollar, R19.46 to the euro and R21.56 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]