- South Africa: Unemployment Rate Increases in Q3 to 27.5%
South Africa, Africa’s second-largest economy,’s unemployment rate has climbed slightly in the third quarter (Q3), according to the data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
The Statistician-General of South Africa, Risenga Maluleke, announced on Tuesday that unemployment rate climbed by 0.3 percent to 27.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018.
The unemployment rate was 26.7 percent in the first quarter before rising to 27.2 percent in the second quarter and now sits at 27.5 percent amid the economic recession.
Maluleke said out of the 38 million working-age people in South Africa, 16.4 million people are employed, while 6.2 million are unemployed and the remaining 15.4 million are classified as economically inactive.
The unemployment number has been rising since the last quarter of 2017 due to weak economic growth, the uncertainty surrounding policy and weak business sentiment.
NKC African Economics told Reuters, “the official South African unemployment rate probably will remain close to 27 percent in Q3, due to weak growth, continued policy uncertainty and a lack of measures to boost employment.”
The economy slips into recession in the second quarter of the year, contracted by 0.7 percent after first-quarter growth was downwardly revised to 2.6 percent decline.
“There is no way to sugar coat the numbers, the growth picture in the first half of 2018 is ugly and it shows in this economy that there is broad-based weakness across the primary and tertiary sectors of the economy,” said senior economist at BNP Paribas Jeffrey Schultz.
In October, South Africa halved its growth projection for 2018 to 0.7 percent from 1.4 percent, citing wider budget deficits for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. That was after World Bank lowered South Africa’s growth forecast due to weak revenue generation.
Still, tax revenue is expected to underperform in the next three years.
Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.
According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.
The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.
It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.
“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”
Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.
Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension
Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.
OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.
In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.
Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.
Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.
“While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
“The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.”
Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.
Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report
- Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report
Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.
The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.
The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.
“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.
Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.
Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.
The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.
Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.
Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.
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