Rand celebrates Zuma’s 11th hour departure

Jacob Zuma

By Thursday morning, the rand had lost a little of its initial euphoria over Jacob Zuma’s resignation as SA’s president at 11pm, an hour before the ANC’s midnight deadline. The rand was trading at R11.73 to the dollar, R14.61 to the euro and R16.44 to the pound at 6.30am.

Speculation that Zuma would resign in a televised address saw the rand strengthen from about R11.90/$ at 4.20pm to R11.66 when his speech finally commenced at 10.38pm.

Zuma’s speech initially unsettled both South Africans and their currency. After keeping the nation waiting for more than 30 minutes, Zuma kicked off with what appeared to be his impression of Batman-villain The Joker, giving his “heh heh heh” trademark laugh and asking journalists, “Why so serious?”

Zuma next adopted a belligerent tone, saying he did not fear the National Assembly’s vote of no confidence against him scheduled for 3pm on Thursday, causing the rand to oscillate wildly around R11.70/$.

Finally at 11pm, he resigned. His parting shot was: “I will dedicate all of my energy to work towards the attainment of the policies of our organisation, in particular the radical economic transformation agenda.”

The JSE’s all share index, which rose 0.33% on Wednesday despite the rand strengthening 2%, looks likely to make further gains on Thursday, judging by Asian markets. Asian stock exchanges generally took their cue from Wall Street where the Nasdaq index closed 1.86% higher and the S&P 500 gained 1.34%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 1.53% and Sydney’s ASX 200 was up 1.18%.

Johannesburg- and Sydney-listed South32, which is scheduled to release its interim results on Thursday, was down 3.65% to A$3.56 in Australia ahead of the JSE’s opening. Another mining company scheduled to release interim results on Thursday is DRDGold. It said on February 1 that it expected to report a swing into an interim profit for the six months to end-December from a loss in the matching period.

The mine dump re-processor said it expected to report headline earnings per share (HEPS) of between 14.06c and 14.54c from the matching period’s headline loss per share of 2.4c. DRDGold said the rise in HEPS was due to an 11% increase in gold produced.

Electrical wholesaler ARB said on January 29 that it expected to report on Thursday that its interim HEPS for the six months to end-December grew between 30% and 36%. ARB said this rise in earnings was mainly due to the way its put options on associate Eurolux were accounted for.

Statistics SA is scheduled to release December’s civil cases for debt figures at 9am, wholesale trade figures at 10am, motor trade sales at 11.30am and building statistics at 1pm. – BusinessLive


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