The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s All-Share Index closed 2.03% higher as investors welcomed news that domestic tourism had not been affected for the time being. The blue-chip Top 40 index rose 1.91%. The travel and leisure index rose 5.12%, with hoteliers City Lodge, Sun International, which also owns the country’s biggest casino chain, and Tsogo Sun Hotels up 9.24%, 12.55% and 3.10% respectively after plunging on Friday. Government bonds also recovered, with the yield on the benchmark 2030 bond falling 4 basis points to 9.860%. On Friday, the yield had reached 10%, its highest level since early May 2020.
The rand firmed on Monday, recovering from last week’s plunge to its lowest level since October 2020 on concerns related to the discovery of a COVID -19 variant in the country, which was described as a particular concern. At the close of trading, the rand was trading R16.17 firmer against the dollar, or 0.81%. Authorities around the world reacted with alarm on Friday to the new Omicron variant discovered in southern Africa. The EU and Britain were among the countries tightening border controls as scientists tried to determine whether the mutation is vaccine-resistant.
Gold prices were unchanged this morning as cautious investors assessed the extent to which the Omicron variant of the coronavirus could affect the global economy. Meanwhile, oil prices rose this morning, continuing their recovery from last week’s slump after expectations grew that major producers would suspend plans to increase crude supply in January due to uncertainty over the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Oil prices had plunged 12% on Friday along with other markets on fears that the severe mutation of the Omicron virus would lead to fresh supply shortages and hurt global growth.
PPC to spend R664 million over three years to cut its carbon emissions by 10%
JSE-listed cement and building materials maker PPC will spend R664 million over the next three financial years to cut its carbon emissions by 10%. The company has developed a strategy to achieve zero emissions by 2050. PPC CEO Roland van Wijnen said on Monday that if PPC succeeds in reducing its carbon intensity by 10%, it will also reduce its carbon tax by 10%. However, he stressed that the strategy is not just about reducing tax obligations. “All the projects that are part of the R664 million investment are value-enhancing,” he said following the release of PPC’s first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) report. The report details the company’s assessment of climate change-related risks and opportunities, as well as its sustainability solutions.
Standard Bank: Lending from January to October exceeds expectations
South Africa’s Standard Bank said on Monday that the performance of its loan portfolio in the 10 months to the end of October had been better than expected, with earnings recovering from the impact of the pandemic. In a trading update, Africa’s biggest lender by assets said its customer base was growing and revenue and customer activity had improved from a year earlier, although costs had risen due to higher activity and some performance-related expenses, including staff bonuses. Full-year guidance remains unchanged, the company added.