All economists surveyed by I-Net Bridge expect no change in interest rates at the end of the two-day meeting of the South African Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee (MPC). This is the 13th consecutive MPC meeting at which the majority of economists have forecast no cut in rates.
South African house prices increased by 15,8% year-on-year in October 2005, from a 17,6% increase in September, according to South African commercial bank Absa's monthly house-price index released on Thursday. This was the lowest year-on-year increase since August 2002, when it was 15,9%.
The <i>Sunday Times</i> job-advertising space has risen by 25,3% year-on-year in the first four months this year, compared with an 8,7% increase in the first four months of 2004. This points to a strong employment market in 2005, as changes in job-recruitment space tend to lead changes in employment.
The South African housing market is most probably in the process of cooling off after a strong boom phase over the past few years, according to commercial bank Absa. "House-price growth is currently on a downward trend," Absa senior economist Jacques du Toit wrote in the latest <i>Property Trends</i> newsletter.
The African National Congress said at a media briefing to discuss the release of discussion documents on Tuesday that the rand needs to balance the interests of exporters and importers, and would not be drawn on what it considered to be an appropriate competitive level.
South African bonds stayed a touch softer in dull midday trade on Monday with the market looking for direction. At noon, the key South African six-year R153 bond was yielding 8,260% - 7 basis points softer than its previous close of 8,190%. The five-year R194 bond was untraded from its previous close of 7,870%.
The proposed relaxation of income tax provisions relating to company restructurings announced in the 2005/6 Budget on Wednesday by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel will help simplify future Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transactions, Marina Vayanos, Ernst & Young's senior tax consultant said on Thursday.
The dollar recovery in the first week of 2005 has put pressure on the rand, which weakened to R6,1448 per dollar on January 6 from the 2004 best level of R5,5850 per dollar reached on December 29. After reaching a record worst level of $1,3668 per euro on December 30, the dollar strengthened to a best level of $1,3027 per euro on January 7.
South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) growth should trend about 4% for the next few years as employment growth finally completes a virtuous circle. In May last year, South Africa entered its longest "upward economic phase", as the previous longest upward phase lasted from September 1961 to April 1965.
Structural changes that have been implemented over the past decade of freedom will support faster South African economic growth, raising growth from an average of only 1% in the decade prior to April 1994 to an average of 3% in the subsequent decade, with the prospect that growth will average more than 4% in the decade ahead, says Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel.
The JSE Securities Exchange (JSE) was firm in noon trade on Friday on the back of futures buying despite a stronger rand. At 12.11pm, the all-share index was up 0,59%. Both the resources and gold mining indices climbed 1,22%. The all share industrial index edged up 0,15%.
The South African Reserve Bank's (SARB) monetary policy committee (MPC) on Thursday decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 8%. The prime interest rate is therefore to remain steady at 11,5%. This was the third consecutive MPC meeting that no change was expected.