Rand little changed by Cabinet reshuffle

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Asian foreign exchange traders appeared torn between applauding and jeering the Cabinet appointments President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at 10pm on Monday.

The initial reaction to the widely expected return of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister and appointment of Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister saw the rand strengthen to R11.51 to the dollar.

But as the market pondered the many compromises in Ramaphosa’s Cabinet — such as reshuffling Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane instead of firing them, and appointing David Mabuza as deputy president and Bheki Cele as police minister — the rand weakened to R11.65/$.

The appointments were leaked to EFF leader Julius Malema who disseminated them via Twitter while the nation waited for Ramaphosa’s televised address, which was originally scheduled for 8.30pm but was then repeatedly delayed by last-minute wrangling within the ANC leadership.

“Cyril looks like a defeated man,” Malema tweeted after Ramaphosa concluded his speech.

The rand was trading at R11.57 to the dollar, R14.26 to the euro and R16.15 to the euro at 7am.

The JSE looked set for a third trading day of gains on Tuesday, judging by Asian markets.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index was up 1.24%, Sydney’s ASX 200 was up 0.28% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.14% ahead of the JSE’s opening.

Chemicals producer AECI said on February 19 that it expected to report on Tuesday that its headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year to end-December grew between 15% and 19%.

AECI said the growth was “enabled by an improved operational performance”.

Construction group Wilson Bayly Holmes–Ovcon (WBHO) said on February 14 that it expected to report on Tuesday that its interim HEPS for the six months to end-December grew by as much as 90%.

WBHO said the jump in earnings was due to it booking its full commitment to an agreement between JSE-listed construction companies and the government in the matching period in 2016.

If not for the settlement agreement accounted for in December 2016, HEPS would have grown between 1% and 6%.

Torre Industries said on February 13 it that expected to report on Tuesday that HEPS for the six months to end-December grew between 22% and 40%.

Statistics SA said on its website it would release three discussion documents at 11am on how it covered various industries: food and beverages; motor trade; and accommodation.

At 12pm, Stats SA is releasing a report titled Early Childhood Development in SA, which is part of its education series – BusinessLive

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