Today’s Top 8 Business Stories – 18 September


1) Volatility Jump Betrays Rand Traders’ Nerves Before Fed Decision
As investors brace for the Federal Reserve’s policy decision later Wednesday, one corner of the foreign- exchange market looks particularly nervous. Overnight volatility for South Africa’s rand rose to as much as 25%, the most since August 2018, before paring the steep climb to trade at levels last seen in early May. The rand, which is often traded as a proxy for emerging-market assets, is highly sensitive to moves in Fed policy and the dollar.

2) Sasol Is Said to Plan Sale of Its South Africa Coal Mining Unit
Sasol Ltd. is planning to sell its South African coal-mining business, according to people familiar with the matter. The company will begin a formal sales process in the coming weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public yet. View Share Prices for Sasol Ltd.

3) Investors Urge South Africa to Leave Their $163 Billion Savings
South Africa’s 2.4 trillion rand ($163 billion) savings industry has a request for the ruling party: stop with threats of dictating where funds must invest and get going on projects that pensions can help finance.

4) Price of Food, Utilities Push Up South African August Inflation
South Africa’s annual inflation rate rose more than forecast in August as food prices grew at the fastest pace in more than a year. Consumer prices grew 4.3% compared with 4% in July, the Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said Wednesday in an emailed statement. The median estimate of 16 economists in a Bloomberg survey was 4.2%. Key Insights * Food inflation quickened to 3.8% in August, from 3% the previous month.

5) South African Airways in Lender Talks for 2 Billion Rand Funding
South African Airways is in negotiations with lenders about borrowing 2 billion rand to fund working capital for the remainder of its financial year, having secured funds to repay an earlier 3.5 billion rand bridge facility. * Banks have set a condition that SAA must produce a reduction and payment plan for 9.2b rand of long-term legacy debt, airline says in presentation to parliament.

6) Zimbabwe Buys 150,000 Tons of South African Corn as Tender Fails
Zimbabwe agreed to buy 150,000 tons of South African corn after a tender five times that size failed, leaving the country short of grain as the number of people without adequate food rises, according to people familiar with the situation. The grain is being supplied by Export Trading Group, said the people, who asked not to be identified as a public announcement hasn’t been made.

7) South Africa Retail Sales Rise for 7th Straight Month in July
South African retail sales rose for the seventh consecutive month in July, while missing expectations. Retail sales advanced 2% from a year earlier compared with a gain of 2.4% in June, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a report on its website. The median estimate of nine economists in a Bloomberg survey was for growth of 2.6%. Sales increased 0.2% in the month.

8) How a Foreign Investor Rattled a Tiny African Kingdom’s Economy
Mohlalefi Moteane runs his wool and mohair brokerage out of his veterinary practice, housed in a small building on a dirt road in Maseru, the ramshackle capital of Lesotho. When a young Chinese businessman visited in 2012 asking to join the business, Moteane turned him away. He saw no need for taking on a partner he didn’t know.