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Oct 28, 2010

SAfrica has no target for FX reserves; finmin Gordhan

CAPE TOWN, Oct 28 (Reuters) – South Africa’s government has
no target for foreign exchange reserves and will help the
Reserve Bank accumulate reserves as and when it can afford to,
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

Gordhan also told a parliamentary committee the government
had extended guarantees to state power utility Eskom by 174
billion rand ($24.75 billion) to 350 billion rand to enable it
to continue with its power generation programme through 2017.

Oct 20, 2010

S.Africa’s Eskom,Transnet bonds seen as attractive

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 20 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Eskom and
Transnet are likely to see strong demand for planned eurobonds
over the next few months, as investor appetite for emerging
market debt is likely to outweigh management problems at the
state-owned firms.

Eskom [ESCJ.UL], the country’s power utility, has said it
needs to raise 45 to 50 billion rand ($6.46 billion) over the
next three years in the international markets.

Sep 30, 2010

S.Africa recovery seen uncertain, jury out on rates

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 30 (Reuters) – South African factory gate
prices rose faster than forecast and credit and revenue data
showed consumer demand was buoyant, leaving the jury out on
prospect of another interest rate cut with the broader economic
outlook uncertain.

The bond market on Thursday trimmed its expectations of
another rate cut after the producer price inflation data, with
yields climbing to one-week highs across the curve.
[ID:nJAT006975] [ID:nJAT006978]
The South African Reserve Bank cut the repo rate by 50 basis
points to 6.0 percent early in September, bringing accumulated
rate reductions since December 2008 to 600 basis points.

Aug 31, 2010

Analysis – South Africa civil workers’ wage offer to hit budget

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The South African government’s latest wage offer to striking public sector workers will lead to increased state borrowing and may put the country’s sovereign credit rating under threat.

The lessons learned from Europe’s debt crisis are still fresh in the minds of South African authorities and they want to press on with plans to slow down borrowing and cut the country’s large budget deficit.

Jul 12, 2010

S.Africa security forces move to protect migrants

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African police and the military have been deployed in several townships due to growing threats against foreign migrant workers and protests about squalid living conditions, police said on Monday.

Signs of social instability could harm South Africa’s image and investor sentiment, undoing gains achieved by hosting the successful soccer World Cup tournament that ended on Sunday.

Jul 7, 2010

S.Africa to probe “wasteful” state ticket buying

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s finance minister and auditor-general are to investigate World Cup ticket purchases by government agencies amid concerns about “wasteful expenditure”, the ministry said on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is trying to enforce fiscal discipline at ministries overseeing Africa’s biggest economy, told government officials in May not to splurge on tickets for the month-long tournament.

Jun 24, 2010

S.Africa’s c/act widens in Q1, PPI quickens in May

PRETORIA, June 24 (Reuters) – The deficit on South Africa’s
current account widened more than expected in the first quarter,
partly due to problems in the euro zone that curbed exports.

The South African Reserve Bank said in its June quarterly
bulletin on Thursday the balance on the current account widened
to 4.6 percent of GDP in the first quarter, compared with a 2.9
percent shortfall in Q4, which was a 4-1/2 year low.

Jun 24, 2010

S.Africa’s Q1 c/a gap wider, spending up

PRETORIA, June 24 (Reuters) – The deficit on South Africa’s
current account widened more than expected in the first quarter
partly due to problems in the euro zone that curbed exports, the
central bank said on Thursday.

The South African Reserve Bank said in its June quarterly
bulletin the balance on the current account widened to 4.6
percent of GDP in the first quarter, compared with a 2.9 percent
shortfall in Q4, which was a 4-1/2 year low.

May 21, 2010

Prophet Mohammad cartoon angers S.African Muslims

JOHANNESBURG, May 21 (Reuters) – A South African daily on Friday published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad complaining that his followers lack a sense of humour, angering Muslims and raising fear of reprisal attacks during next month’s World Cup.

South Africa will host the month-long soccer tournament from June 11 and police have pledged to protect the 300,000 expected foreign visitors and the teams taking part.

The Mail & Guardian newspaper published a sketch by renowned South African cartoonist Zapiro after a court rejected an overnight bid by Muslim advocacy groups for an injunction to prevent the newspaper from printing the cartoon.

The cartoon depicts the prophet on a psychologist’s couch saying that his followers do not have a sense of humour.

Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam to be offensive. In 2005, a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Mohammad which were subsequently republished elsewhere, sparking violent protests that killed several dozen people.

South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said it would meet to discuss the cartoon, which it deemed highly offensive to the religious sensibilities of Muslims.

"It seems to be provocative in many ways on the very eve of the World Cup in South Africa, when we need peaceful co-existence and co-operation amongst religious communities in South Africa," said MJC President Ihsaan Hendricks.

"The M&G (Mail & Guardian) needed to understand that offending the South African Muslim community is offending the international Muslim community," he added.

About 80 percent of South Africa’s 50 million population is Christian and 1.5 percent Muslim. Muslims are well integrated in South African society and there has been little extremist violence with the exception of Muslim-led attacks on drug dealers in Cape Town several years ago.

Callers to Johannesburg-based Talk Radio 702 said the Mail & Guardian was irresponsible for printing the cartoon so close to World Cup and this could raise the possibility of a terrorist attack during the tournament.

But a few others supported the paper and its right to free speech.

An alleged al Qaeda militant who was arrested in Iraq on Monday said he had suggested an attack on the Danish and Dutch teams at the World Cup to avenge insults against the Prophet Mohammad. [ID:nIBR960712] (Additional Reporting by Xola Potelwa; Editing by Marius Bosch and Mark Heinrich)





May 13, 2010

S.Africa rates left steady on sustained econ recovery

JOHANNESBURG, May 13 (Reuters) – The South African Reserve
Bank (SARB) left its repo rate unchanged at 6.5 percent on
Thursday, as expected, citing a sustained recovery in the
domestic economy and balanced inflation risks.

The SARB has since December 2008 reduced the repo rate by a
cumulative 550 basis points to a three-decade low, the last 50
basis point reduction in March taking the market by surprise.

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