By Jackie Cameron
- President Cyril Ramaphosa has begun a period of self-quarantine following the positive Covid-19 diagnosis of a guest at a dinner for 35 people attended by the President on Saturday. Just under 718,000 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 and just over 19,000 are reported as having died of the disease in the country. South Africa is number 12 on the list of countries with the highest number of Covid-19 infections. The US has been the hardest hit, with just under 9m people testing positive for Covid-19 and about 227,000 people dying of the coronavirus.
- South Africa is to spend at least R17bn more on its failed national carrier SAA, announced Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni. It was placed in administration in December, hasn’t made a profit in almost a decade and has long relied on state support. Keeping it afloat is seen by opposition parties and some analysts as an expensive distraction for the government at a time when it needs to rescue the more crucial state power utility and reinvigorate economic growth, says Bloomberg. The South African govt has also allocated another R23bn to prop up debt-wracked power utility Eskom. South Africa is now spending more than R2bn a day on debt as it tries to stave off financial crisis. For more on the Medium-Term Budget policy announcements, visit BizNews.com
- Stocks tumbled in the US and Europe as rising coronavirus infections and tougher lockdowns added to worries about the economic hit from the pandemic, reports Bloomberg. The S&P 500 Index fell more than 2.5%, headed for the biggest drop in seven weeks, amid a surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations, especially in the Midwest, said the news wire. Energy shares sank with oil prices, and technology stocks were also among the worst performers. The VIX Index, a measure of expected US equity volatility, climbed to the highest level since June, it added.
- South Africa’s main stock index plunged after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget update and as negative sentiment prompted by rising coronavirus infections and tougher lockdowns engulfed global equity markets. Casparus Treurnicht of Gryphon Asset Management told Bloomberg: “It’s really hard to be optimistic about South Africa listening to the speech. There was nothing good in it really. People want to see action. And the speech was a non-event, only confirming that we are in deep trouble.”