Inline with the spirit of Passover and Easter celebrations we are sending out the News Flash today rather than on Friday. This week was eventful both locally and internationally: Moody’s released their in-depth annual analysis on South Africa, the redacted version of Mueller’s Report may be released, and Notre-Dame went up in flames.
- Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on Russia’s involvement in President Trump’s presidential campaign should be released today.
- Fed Chair Jerome Powell has adjusted the Fed’s strategy for dealing with inflation. Chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC, Stephen Stanley, said that the new policy wouldn’t lead to rate hikes until price rises accelerate.
- The US Commerce Department has said that the US deficit on trade in goods and services narrowed by 3.4% in February from January, thanks in large part to a pickup in exports.
- China had better than expected economic growth in the first quarter of 2019. The GDP rose by 6.4% from the first quarter a year earlier. Year-to-date retail sales expanded by 8.7% and investments were up by 6.3%. In March alone factory output hiked up by 8.5% from the previous year.
- The EU aims to confirm a trade agreement with the US before the end of the year, this was announced by European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, on Monday.
- Notre-Dame was engulfed in flames this week. The iconic lead and wooden spire came down, but luckily the rose windows are safe as well as the Great Organ, which has pipes dating back to the Middle Ages. Currently, the fire is being treated as an accident as a likely result of the renovation that was taking place. In one day $560 million was pledged for Notre-Dame’s restoration.
- Moody’s, in their in-depth annual analysis, has said that they are concerned about South Africa’s rising government debt linked to the bailouts of state-run enterprises. They also raised concern over our persistently high unemployment rates. South Africa’s debt metrics are still in line with Baa3-rated sovereigns, keeping the rating outlook stable, but debt-to-GDP will reach 65% by 2023 under Moody’s baseline scenario.
- The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) released its bi-annual Monetary Policy Review publication, where it stated that at the moment monetary policy can do little to stimulate growth and that the drag on economic stimulus is largely structural.
- The SARB estimates that South Africa’s new bout of rolling blackouts will reduce our economic growth estimate by 1.1% — cutting it close to zero.
Source: Dynasty, Stanlib, Prescient, Daily Maverick, Moneyweb, Reuters, RMB, Aljazeera, and Bloomberg Markets, etc