File: Plans are underway to start a black-owned South African bank.
1. The rand started the new week in unfamiliar territory: below R14/$. Last trading at R13.93/$, the currency benefited from speculation that the US Fed may start cutting interest rates this year.
2. US and Chinese negotiators started talks on Monday in Beijing, seeking a deal to end a trade war that has wreaked havoc on global markets. The
countries have inflicted import taxes of more than $300bn of each other's goods, and US president Donald Trump is threatening to institute $300bn in additional duties on Chinese imports.
3. The latest IHS Markit Purchasing Manager's Index – which tracks new orders, orders and employment in South African businesses – showed that demand was still weak, but some business reported signs of a turnaround in the economy. The PMI rose from 48.2 in November to 49 in December 2018 – but it remains below the 50 mark, which means conditions are still negative.
4. A number of economic indicators are due to be released this week, that could confirm whether the economy is strengthening. These include: business confidence numbers, new vehicle sales and manufacturing data.
5. The latest poll ahead of this year's general election shows that the ANC could gather 61% of voter support, followed by the DA (14%) and the EFF (9%). Apart from the IFP (2%), no other party got more than 1% support, the research company Ipsos found.
- Iress / Business Insider South /Africa