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Macro and Micro News

The Grand Inga dream has potential to unite and/or divide the region

By: Terence Creamer     11th September 2009 For the next year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A significant development, given that regional actors (from East and Southern Africa) played such a major role both in the country’s recent conflicts and its... 

New twist in Transnet battle as Maseko withdraws candidature for top job

By: Terence Creamer     10th September 2009 In the latest twist in the ongoing Transnet leadership tussle, the State freight logistics group confirmed on Thursday that Sipho Maseko, who was the group's preferred contender for the vacant CEO position, had withdrawn his candidature. Maseko had reportedly withdrawn in light of the "furore"... 

SA slips two places in Doing Business survey

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     9th September 2009 South Africa fell two places in the latest Doing Business report, published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and currently ranked at 34 out of 183 countries. The annual survey analyses regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses, including dealing with construction permits,... 

National planning and monitoring papers tabled in Parliament

By: Chanel de Bruyn     8th September 2009 The Green Paper on National Strategic Planning and a policy paper on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation were tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, as part of government’s plans to improve its own overall effectiveness in achieving its short-, medium- and long-term objectives. Minister in the... 

‘Global crisis could not have come at a worse time for Africa’ – World Bank 

By: Chanel de Bruyn     8th September 2009 Aid to Africa was currently one of the best investments other countries could make and the Group of 20 (G20) developing nations should be challenged to seize the opportunity and make financial commitments to Africa, World Bank Africa region chief economist Shantayanan Devarajan said on Tuesday.... 

Transnet takes fresh swipe at SA's economic regulators

By: Terence Creamer     8th September 2009 State freight logistics utility Transnet once again raised its unhappiness with the country's approach to economic regulation in Parliament on Tuesday, saying that, in its current form and application, the regulations were "not conducive for investment in major infrastructure projects". Briefing... 

Far more urgency needed if we are to avoid yet more power stress

By: Terence Creamer     4th September 2009 Given the economically and psychologically debilitating drama of the 2008 electricity crisis - precipitated by supply-side instability (itself a consequence of policy failure, regulatory inertia and primary-energy mismanagement) - it is frankly perplexing that there isn't more of an outcry about... 

US academic urges use of WTO loopholes to promote development

By: Keith Campbell     2nd September 2009 The rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) leave space for industrial policies, including use of subsidies, which developing countries can, should, and, in some cases do, exploit. This has been highlighted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Political Economy Professor Alice Amsden.... 

SA should handle economic upturn correctly, Finance Minister asserts 

By: Loni Prinsloo     1st September 2009 South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said that even though markets were experiencing a slight upturn, the country had not quite worked itself out of the economic crisis. Speaking at the Centre for Education in Economic and Finance's yearly meeting, in Johannesburg, he said that if... 

Eskom slumps to record R9,7bn loss on big coal, metals-linked derivatives swing 

By: Terence Creamer     27th August 2009 State-owned power utility Eskom slumped to its worst-ever loss of R9,7-billion in its 2008/9 financial year to end March, primarily on higher coal costs and a massive fair value loss on embedded derivatives, associated with pricing agreements the utility has with metals smelters in South Africa... 

DBSA to boost lending capacity by R100bn over 5 years

By: Chanel de Bruyn     26th August 2009 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) was planning to increase its lending capacity to add another R100-billion in funds over the next five years, CEO Paul Baloyi said on Wednesday. Speaking at a presentation on the development finance institution’s (DFI’s) 2009 financial performance,... 

Gauteng economy to grow by 2,1% in ’09 – report

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     21st August 2009 Economic activity in South Africa’s economic power house, the Gauteng province, has declined owing to the deterioration in the international and domestic climate, but the 2010 World Cup and planned infrastructure projects will hold “tremendous” opportunity, a report stated this week. The Gauteng... 

SA remains in recession as Q2 GDP contracts 3%

By: Chanel de Bruyn     18th August 2009 Economists were hopeful on Tuesday that the third quarter of the year would produce an even smaller contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) than the 3% quarter-on-quarter contraction recorded in the second quarter, while the final quarter would likely show a small positive growth number. The... 

Crime and violent protests harm business confidence in SA

By: Chanel de Bruyn     14th August 2009 The increased “belligerence on the part of labour”, violent service delivery protests, as well as the increase in cash-in-transit heists in South Africa, was “substantially” harming confidence in the business environment, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) reported on... 

SA must ensure recession does not destroy productive capacity – Patel  

By: Chanel de Bruyn     13th August 2009 Government and business were in agreement that the country had to ensure that its productive capacity was not destroyed by the recession, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Thursday. Following a meeting with Business Unity South Africa (Busa), Patel told journalists the means... 

DTI revises black business supplier development programme

By: Creamer Media Reporter      3rd August 2009 The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has effected revisions to the current Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP). Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies approved revised guidelines on June 12, prompting the need to step-up measures to enhance the competitiveness of local,... 

Economy to contract by 2% in '09, no further rate cuts seen – BER

By: Mariaan Webb     28th July 2009 South Africa’s economic growth is expected to contract by 2% this year – the country’s weakest performance since 1992, the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) said on Tuesday. However, the country, which entered its first recession in 17 years this year, could expect “fairly muted” economic... 

SA weathering recession ‘quite well’ – Fitch

By: Sapa     27th July 2009 South Africa is weathering the global recession and credit crunch "quite well" compared to its rating peers, ratings agency Fitch said on Monday. This was despite its predictions that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) would fall one to two percent this year, it said in a statement. 

SA firms urged to evaluate approach to emerging economies  

By: Chanel de Bruyn     20th July 2009 South African companies would have to make conscious strategic decisions in terms of how they deal with the emerging economies of the world, Frontier Advisory CEO Dr Martyn Davies said on Monday, noting that local firms were comfortable in doing business with the English-speaking world, but not... 

SA freight volumes not expected to recover for many months yet

By: Terence Creamer     17th July 2009 Road and rail freight volumes have declined markedly over the past year, with neither South Africa’s monopoly rail operator nor the country’s road hauliers anticipating a recovery any time soon. South Africa’s Fifth State of Logistics survey, released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial... 

Botswana signed controversial deal with EU to protect its commercial interests 

By: Christy van der Merwe     16th July 2009 Botswana's decision to sign an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (I-EPA) with the European Union (EU) earlier this year did not pose a threat to the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and was based on the country's need to protect its immediate commercial interests, Botswana's Trade and... 

Government launches expenditure review in bid to seek out savings 

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2009 The South African government would undertake a "comprehensive review" of its expenditure in a bid to identify savings and reprioritise spending in light of falling revenues and rising expenditure, The Presidency's policy unit head Joel Netshitenzhe reported on Tuesday. However, speaking at the... 

SA's project pipeline needs urgent replenishment, Manuel asserts 

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2009 The South African government, which had placed infrastructure expenditure at the heart of its response to the global economic crisis, warned on Tuesday that the country was at risk of running into a "a procyclical trough" within the next year unless new projects were identified to replenish the... 

SA won’t veer from price-stability course 'just because it’s difficult'  

By: Terence Creamer     14th July 2009 The South African Constitution ultimately set the mandate for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to maintain price stability and this objective could not be abandoned simply because it was difficult to achieve, Minister in The Presidency Trevor Manuel asserted on Tuesday. 

Highveld will also raise some steel prices in August

By: Terence Creamer     13th July 2009 South Africa's second-largest steel producer Highveld Steel & Vanadium would join its larger rival, ArcelorMittal South Africa, in raising steel prices as from the start of August, having refrained from doing so in July. Engineering News Online has learned that Highveld would increase prices on... 

Better use could be made of offsets 
to boost development, specialist asserts

By: Darren Parker     10th July 2009 There are significant opportunities for furthering and enhancing various levels of development in South Africa through countertrade,consultant Johan van Dyk argues, citing the already running defence industrial participation (Dip) and national industrial participation (Nip) programmes as a good... 

‘Rigid' application of inflation targeting a ‘costly mistake', Stiglitz avers  

By: Terence Creamer     8th July 2009 Nobel prize-winning economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz reiterated his stance that the "rigid" application of inflation targeting by central bankers had contributed to the onset of the current economic crisis and that containing inflation needed to be balanced with other concerns, such as sustaining... 

S&P's could lift Eskom watch soon, but wants finality on guarantees

By: Terence Creamer     7th July 2009 International credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P's) said on Tuesday that it would remove power utility Eskom from ‘CreditWatch' as soon as it had certainty on the execution of the R176-billion government-guarantees package - a development which it anticipated would take place within... 

SA’s low savings rate worrying – Nene 

By: Chanel de Bruyn     6th July 2009 While South Africa’s gross savings as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 17,1% in the first quarter of this year, the country’s historical low rate of saving was worrying, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Monday. Speaking at the launch of Savings Month, Nene... 

From wind to fuels, IDC mulling big energy-economy role 

By: Terence Creamer     6th July 2009 South Africa's State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) expects to become increasingly active in the energy milieu, both as a partner to independent power producers (IPPs), as well as a financier of mega transport fuel projects. CEO Geoffrey Qhena tells Engineering News that its... 

Westinghouse showcases localisation models 
as South Africa mulls nuclear-energy restart

By: Terence Creamer     3rd July 2009 Nuclear equipment vendor Westinghouse Electric Company has been using the “quiet time” associated with what appears to be South Africa’s temporary step-back from a major nuclear-energy investment programme to showcase its technology-transfer and localisation successes in Asia.

In a recent... 

Analyst sees no sign of big 
policy shifts in the short term

By: Leandi Kolver     3rd July 2009 No major policy changes were expected in the near future, the University of Witwatersrand Graduate School of Public and Development Management political scientist and professor of public policy Susan Booysen said at the recent Economic Outlook conference held in Johannesburg. Instead, the... 

IDC has already spent R800m to aid distressed firms, confirms R6,1bn bail-out budget

By: Terence Creamer     2nd July 2009 The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) confirmed on Wednesday that it had already spent more than R800-million to assist "distressed" companies affected by the domestic economic slowdown, and confirmed that it had set aside a total of R6,1-billion for the next two years to assist others... 

State spending growth to moderate as revenues fall, interest costs rise

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2009 South Africa’s low debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio meant that government could maintain its present spending levels and increase its borrowings, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday. But, speaking in the National Assembly, he said that a lower tax-revenue intake, together... 

Infrastructure spend to limit SA’s economic slide, but 1,9% contraction still likely for 2009 – Absa Capital

By: Terence Creamer     1st July 2009 Infrastructure spending by government and State corporations, which was expected to rise to nearly 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) this fiscal year, would prevent what would otherwise have been an even larger slide in growth. But, Absa Capital research head Jeff Gable said on Wednesday that... 

SA should have ‘courage’ to raise tariffs to prevent de-industrialisation 

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2009 South Africa should have the “courage” to increase tariffs where there is evidence to show that this would prevent the destruction of the economy’s productive capacity and where such remedies were in line with South Africa’s international trade commitments, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob... 

Transnet leans towards localisation over accelerated delivery in diesel loco tender

By: Terence Creamer     30th June 2009 State-owned freight logistics group Transnet was weighing up pricing, timing and localisation imperatives as part of its intensive evaluation of a so-called “urgent” tender process for the procurement of 100 diesel locomotives, while indicating that an award is now “imminent”. The tender, which... 

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