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SA February PPI seen steady at 5,5% y/y

South Africa's February 2005 producer price index (PPI) is expected to remain at January's 5,5% year-on-year (y/y) increase. According to an I-Net Bridge survey of economists, the range is from 4,9% y/y to 5,9% y/y. The optimists expect the stronger rand to have kept factory gate prices subdued, while the pessimists believe rising oil and other commodity prices will lead to higher producer prices.

SA nuclear firm awards design contract

The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor's (PBMR) fuel division announced on Wednesday that it had awarded a design contract worth R10,5-million to a South African design house, Thermtron Projects, in a crucial second step in the PBMR fuel manufacturing technology, to prove sustainability on an industrial scale.

Petrol price: Good news may be in store

The Department of Minerals and Energy could implement a retail petrol price cut of about 15 cents per litre (c/l) on March 1, given recent trends in both the rand exchange rate and oil prices, reversing the 14c/l increase implemented this month. The retail petrol price is adjusted monthly on the first Wednesday of the month.

Manuel tables conservative Budget

South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Wednesday tabled a conservative Budget, eschewing corporate and individual income tax rate cuts, even though the revenue over-run in the 2005/06 fiscal year is projected at R41-billion. Compared with last year's Budget, when the fiscal deficit to gross domestic product ratio was forecast to remain near 3% over the medium term, Manuel this year reduced that to the 1,5% level.

Petrol price could drop by 12 cents a litre

The Department of Minerals and Energy could implement a retail petrol-price cut of about 12 cents per litre (c/l) on March 1, given recent trends in both the rand exchange rate and oil prices. The retail petrol price is adjusted monthly on the first Wednesday of the month in accordance with the previous averaging period's over- or under-recovery.

Budget: Economists expect personal tax cut

Strong South African government revenue growth should allow Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel to cut personal taxes by about R20-billion when he announces the 2006/07 Budget on Wednesday February 15. But economists are divided on whether the tax relief will come in the form of adjusting brackets or a reduction in the top marginal tax rate.

Economists expect no change in rates

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) meeting, which started on Wednesday morning. This is the 13th consecutive MPC meeting at which the majority of economists have forecast no cut in rates.

Business leaders upbeat on SA growth

Business leaders and economists are very upbeat in their expectations for South Africa's general economic prospects in years to come, the Bureau for Market Research said on Monday. A panel of 13 economists expects an average growth rate in excess of 3% per annum between 2005 and 2010 and growth of 3,6% per annum for the period 2011 to 2025.

No change expected in interest rates

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.

Exchange controls ‘to be relaxed gradually’

The National Treasury is unlikely to deviate from the path it has pursued since 1995, one of gradually dismantling exchange controls in a phased and responsible manner, despite speculation that the government may opt for a "big bang" approach to lifting remaining exchange-control regulations, Brait economist Colen Garrow said on Friday.

Most economists expect no 2006 rate cut

The majority of economists expect no change in monetary policy in South Africa in 2006, but there are economists who are forecasting cuts, and those who are looking for increases. A no-change scenario is what the majority of economists forecast for 2004 and 2005.

FDI expected to keep rand more stable

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is likely to keep the rand more stable in 2006, as it did in 2005, compared with previous years, economists surveyed by I-Net Bridge said. The average annual forecast for 2006 is from R6 to R7 per dollar with a median forecast of R6,50.

November PPI seen easing to 4,1%

South Africa's November 2005 producer price index (PPI) is expected to ease to a 4,1% year-on-year (y/y) increase from 4,2% y/y in October and 4,6% y/y in September. According to an I-Net Bridge survey of economists, the range is from 3,7% y/y to 4,3% y/y. The expected easing is due to a reduction in the price of imported crude oil.

SA property price rise eases

The South African residential property market continues to be buoyant, although the growth in house prices has eased substantially from last year's peak, Standard Bank economists Elna Moolman and Gina Schoeman said in the latest residential property gauge. The economists noted that the macroeconomic environment and consumers' sound balance sheets remain supportive of a firm housing market.

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