Moody’s has reduced South Africa’s growth forecast for 2020 to below one percent. This in itself does not bode well for the possibility of a downgrade by Moody’s at the end of March. Still, the budget speech will take place next week and this should bring South Africa’s prospects into sharper focus.
- Roger Stone, an advisor to President Trump, has been sentenced to three years in prison for lying to investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. His recommended sentence was seven years.
- US Attorney General William Barr is in hot water over his involvement in the Roger Stone case. Barr decided to reduce Stone’s sentence by half the recommended amount after comments were made by President Trump. Since then, Barr has told associates that he may resign from the Justice Department for damaging its historical reputation for independence.
- WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange’s lawyers have dropped a bombshell, saying that they have evidence that President Trump was prepared to pardon Assange if he stated that Russia was not behind the leaks of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.
- Apple Inc announced that it will not meet its revenue guidance for the March quarter, reasoning that Covid-19 has slowed down production and weakened demand in China.
- Pakistan may be blacklisted for money laundering after it was discovered that a Pakistani bank, Habib, took on Duduzane Zuma as a client. This comes after the country was investigated by the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog for illicit financial activities. This could have serious implications for the nation’s economy and its bailout program with the International Monetary Fund.
- Zimbabwe’s economy is imploding due to its inflation having escalated beyond 500%. Additionally, the European Union will investigate whether human rights have been abused by armed security forces.
- Moody’s has reduced South Africa’s growth forecast for 2020 to below one percent (0.7%). On the news the rand took a hit, weakening above R15/$.
- President Ramaphosa has said that people who have stolen money from South Africa need to be tracked down, and “face the full might of the law”. He said that Eskom and Transnet have already recovered R2.3bn in funds lost to corruption.
- Anglo American Platinum had record results for 2019 on the back of soaring PGM prices. In a surprise move however, CEO Chris Griffith, is stepping down to pursue other career opportunities.
- The Springboks have won the Laureus World Team of the Year award. For an explanation of what this means for SA rugby, follow this link.