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5 things you need to know in SA business today
#1
1. At a media briefing last night, the US State Department commented on US President Donald Trump’s concerns on land expropriation, expressed in a tweet yesterday.

“The expropriation of land without compensation ... would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path. We continue to encourage a peaceful and transparent public debate about what we consider to be a very important issue,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said during the briefing. 

A journalist asked if the US government believed the South African policy appeared to be similar to the land grabs that had taken place in Zimbabwe.

Nauert said the situations between the two countries were quite different. 

"It may be easy for some to try to draw a comparison, but there are very big differences. In Zimbabwe, we saw the government there squash civil society, shut down the media from doing their jobs in reporting and destroy an independent judiciary and we have not seen that happen in South Africa, so I think they are different situations altogether."

The rand continues to take strain following the tweet, and was trading at R14.38/$ this morning.

Trump's tweet drew harsh criticism from South African citizens and institutions alike, with the South African government claiming that Trump’s tweet sought to “divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past”.

Meanwhile, Trump warned that if he was impeached, the stock market would plummet. "I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job," Trump said in an interview.

"I’ll tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor. Because without this thinking you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe, in reverse."

2. Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas will take the stand today when the commission of inquiry into state capture resumes.

3. Woolworths reported a depressing set of results yesterday, which showed the negative impact of the company’s Australian ventures. It had to write off billions at its struggling Australian chain David Jones, contributing to a decline of almost 18% in its headline earnings.

4. Massmart, owner of Makro and Game, also saw its interim profit decline as South African households struggle to afford big-ticket items. “One of the economic realities of this consumer pressure is that people only have money for about three to five days of the month when they get paid,” Massmart CEO Guy Hayward told Reuters. Sales grew by less than 2%.

5. But Discovery is still seeing growth: its share price rallied late yesterday after it announced that its headline earnings for the past year should be up to 35% higher.






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