Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange plunged as global equity markets slid, as the prospect of conflict over Ukraine prompted investors to book profits from riskier assets. The benchmark All-Share index slumped 3.57% to 72,164 points, its biggest fall since the start of the year, while the blue-chip Top 40 index slid 3.71% to 65,653 points. On an individual stock basis, British American Tobacco was the best performing Top 40 company, up 2.11%, while Sibanye Stillwater lost 8.21%, making it the worst performer in the blue-chip index.
The rand weakened on Monday on concerns about a possible conflict with Ukraine and ahead of central bank meetings this week, which could affect the development of domestic and international interest rates. At the close of trading, the rand was trading 0.82% weaker at R15.26 to the dollar.
Oil prices climbed early today, reversing some of the previous day’s sharp losses. This was due to concerns about possible supply disruptions amid rising geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Oil prices hit seven-year highs last week, supported by tight global supplies and resurgent global demand. Meanwhile, gold prices were little changed this morning as investors looked for hints of a rate hike at the Fed meeting, while the safe-haven bullion was buoyed by low-risk trades on concerns over disagreements between Russiaand Ukraine.
Steinhoff obtains supreme court approval for global settlement
Steinhoff International Holdings (SIHNV) confirmed Monday that its ‘Section 155 Global Settlement Proposal’ has received approval from the Western Cape High Court. The €1.43 billion (over R24.7 billion) settlement proposal with shareholders follows years of litigation (both in South Africa and in the Netherlands) in the wake of the Steinhoff accounting scandal in 2017, with Steinhoff facing claims of around R180 billion. Now that the proposed settlement has been approved by a high court in South Africa, Steinhoff is one step closer to making the offer final and binding. The company has already received approval from the courts in the Netherlands, where its headquarters are located.
Shoprite to prioritise selling locally produced sugar in its stores
Shoprite Group – Africa’s largest food retailer – intends to sell only locally produced sugar in its 1,189 Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper and Usave supermarkets in South Africa to encourage consumers to buy locally. This plan is being implemented in collaboration with the sugar industry’s trade association, the South African Canegrowers Association, as part of the ‘Home Sweet Home’ campaign, which the association launched to educate consumers about the challenges facing the industry. One major threat is weak trade protection against increasing sugar imports, which will cost the local industry more than R2.2 billion in 2019 alone. “These challenges threaten 21,000 smallholder farmers, 65,000 direct jobs, 270,000 indirect jobs, and the one million people who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.”