April’s Petrol Price

Petrol prices have gone down and as published by the Department of Energy there will be a petrol price drop of R2 and a drop of R1.40 for diesel for April 2020. 

Petrol 95 will show a decrease of R1.88 for inland and R1.94 for coastal, petrol 93 will have a decrease inland of R1.76 and R1.82 for coastal, Diesel 0.05% will have a decrease of R1.34 inland and R1.40 for coastal, diesel 0.005% will have a decrease inland of R1.35 and R1.41 for coastal and illuminating paraffin will have a decrease of R1.84 for inland and coastal will have a decrease of R1.98. 

As the world is in turmoil due to the global coronavirus pandemic, a price war has broken out between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which led to crumbling oil prices. Brent crude prices have dropped to less than $25 per barrel. 

The price drop in petrol will greatly assist our essential services, which will be operating during the lockdown and will also aid Eskom who relies on diesel powered electricity generation during times of low supply. 

Local fuel prices are mainly affected by both the impact on the rand/dollar and resultant price of international petroleum products.

During the period of review, the rand depreciated against the US dollar and the average international product process decreased for diesel, petrol and illuminating paraffin.

During the period 28thFebruary 2020 to 26thMarch 2020, the rand/dollar was at R16.43, which led to a higher contribution to the basic fuel prices. 

In April, increased taxes will also be coming into effect. On the 26thFebruary during the Budget Speech by the minister of finance, it was announced that the fuel and Road Accident Fund levies on diesel and petrol will increase from the 1stApril. 

Also during the period, there was an increase in transport tariffs that factors into the inland costs of fuel.

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/energy/385665/here-is-the-official-petrol-price-for-april/

The Rand Pushes Past R18 to the Dollar amidst Junk Status

South Africa’s credit rating has been downgraded to junk by Moody’s, which added further pressure to the rand as Asian markets opened and pushed the rand to R18.03/dollar, which is a new low. 

However, early on Monday, some support came unexpectedly from China’s central bank who cut interest rates by 20 basis points, which helped the rand to recover some of its earlier losses. However, according to Bianca Botes, treasury partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions the rand will feel more pain as global markets open. 

Botes said that the main contributing factors to the rating downgrade were poor structural economic growth prospects and deteriorating fiscal metrics.

The World Government Bond Index is set to be rebalanced at the end of April, which could then see a sell off of $11 billion. 

The timing of the downgrade couldn’t come at a worse time as South Africa and the rest of the world’s markets battle with the coronavirus pandemic. 

The government has recognised the decision by Moody’s to downgrade South Africa one notch below investment grade for their local currency and long term foreign debt ratings. 

The Covid-19 impact can be felt across numerous sectors of the economy, which includes the financial markets that experienced a significant sell off in bonds, equities and exchange rates as investors turned back to safe haven securities. 

Due to the depreciated currency, the cost of imported goods will be higher, which could then see a rise in inflation. This will then limit the reaction that the South African Reserve Bank can take against Covid-19, according to Sanisha Packirisamy, economist at Momentum Investments.

However, Packirisamy said that it’s not all bad news because the bulk of the South African equity markets earnings now come from global markets, which means that any extra near term rand weakness should have a positive effect on the South African equity market.

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/finance/385821/junk-status-sends-rand-past-r18-to-the-dollar-the-weakest-point-on-record/

South Africa to go into 21 Day Lockdown from Thursday

It has been announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa that from Thursday at midnight South Africa will enter into a 3-week lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19. There will be severe restrictions on travel and movement which will be supported by the South African National Defence Force. 

Ramaphosa said that more needs to be done and staying home and avoiding social engagements and contact with others has shown to be the most effective way to avoid the spread of the virus. He went on to say that without decisive action the number of cases will increase and in a population like South Africa this is extremely dangerous. 

The number of infected people will rapidly increase from a few hundred to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands in just a few weeks. 

The main measure that is to be put in place is a three-week lockdown that will take effect from Thursday 26thMarch at midnight to Thursday 16thApril. This means that:

  1. All South Africans will have to stay at home
  2. Those exempted are emergency personnel, health workers in both the public and private sectors, security services like soldiers and police, those that are part of the production and supply of basic goods and food and those who work in essential services. 
  3. South Africans will only be able to leave their homes in order to visit the pharmacy, buy food, seek medical care or to collect a social grant. 
  4. Shelters will be identified for homeless people. Quarantine areas will also be determined for those that cannot self isolate at home. 
  5. All business will close. Those to remain open include food stores, petrol stations, medical facilities, laboratories and pharmacies. 
  6. Essential transport services will continue.

Further details and plans will be published in due course. 

Those that are exempted from the lockdown are emergency personnel, health workers in both private and public sectors, those in security services like police, soldiers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and others that are needed in response to the pandemic. Also exempted are those that are involved in the production, distribution and supply of basic goods and food, essential banking services, telecommunications services, maintenance of power and water, laboratory services and the provision of hygiene and medical products. 

All shops and businesses will be closed apart from banks, pharmacies, laboratories, essential financial and payment services, which includes JSE, supermarkets, health care providers and petrol stations. 

The SANDF has been deployed to support government in the plan and screening and testing is to be ramped up to identify high risk areas. 

Other countries have taken similar measures including European countries when the spread has occurred at an exceptional rate, which has strained medical supplies and facilities. 

Support

The government has put measures in place to assist local businesses that will be negatively affected by the restrictions during the lockdown. 

Money will be spent to keep business alive as well as to save lives. Ramaphosa also noted that the Rupert and Oppenheimer families have each donated R1 billion to the cause. Ramaphosa has also called on large businesses to take care of their employees. 

The tourism sector has been hit hard due to the travel restrictions and R200 million will be made available to small and medium businesses in this sector. 

You can read the speech by Ramaphosa below:

https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-escalation-measures-combat-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-mar

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/383927/ramaphosa-announces-21-day-coronavirus-lockdown-for-south-africa/

Covid-19 Debt Relief for SMEs from Standard Bank

On Sunday, 22ndMarch Standard Bank made a move and announced that they will be introducing a payment holiday for three months which will be extended to small businesses that have a turnover of less than R20 million and to full time students with a student loan. 

The scheme will start on the 1stApril and will end on the 30thJune 2020. Standard Bank will create new automatic payment terms that will help small business clients, so they can manage their cash flow better and more importantly pay their employees. Lungisa Fuzile, Standard Bank South Africa CEO explained the relief is done through the capitalising of interest and fees, which are usually paid to the bank and the repayment terms will be changed to a later date. 

Full time students that have a student loan with Standard Bank will also be given a payment holiday with 0% interest with zero fees. The payment holiday will be applied automatically by the bank to qualifying customers. 

Other customers will need to contact the bank to show their circumstances says Fuzile. 

Standard Bank will also be offering other forms of assistance including the option to defer payments for a certain period of time and customers will also be able to restructure and consolidate the overall debt. 

What Are Our Other Banks Doing?

Nedbank

On Sunday night, Nedbank stated that they will be supporting clients with individual solutions to cash flow challenges that they might be experiencing due to Covid-19, which will also extend to any loan agreements with Nedbank in good standing. 

The support could include extending existing loan periods, deferring payments for a suitable amount of time or extending additional credit to manage cash flow shortfalls. 

Clients will need to contact Nedbank to change or restructure payment arrangements. 

Absa

A spokesperson for Absa said that the bank will continue to evaluate the Covid-19 impact, which includes the economic impact on an ongoing basis.  They went on to say that it is too soon to speculate about the impact on defaults and that Absa is looking at various possible scenarios and related actions that might come into effect if their customers find themselves in financial difficulty.

First National Bank

FNB has said they have aligned with the view of the Banking Association of South Africa, (Basa) and at this stage do not have any further update. 

Basa said in a statement that they are speaking with banking regulators and competition authorities as a matter of urgency so that they can come to a conclusion as to how the banking industry will protect staff, customers and small businesses from the impact that Covid-19 will have socially and economically. 

Cas Coovadia, Basa Managing Director said that they are fully aware that the country is facing a crisis, which demands an urgent response, but they need to ensure any action taken is legal, fair, sustainable and effective for the duration of the pandemic and afterwards. Any steps to be taken will be detailed as soon as possible. 

TymeBank

Tauriq Keraan, CEO noted that the bank is not yet lending to students or businesses. However, he said that they will be keeping their GoalSave interest rates at existing levels despite the recent interest rate cut. Customers can then still earn up to 10% interest per year if they have money in GoalSave for longer than 90 days and if they give only 10 days’ notice. 

Article Source: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/companies-and-deals/standard-bank-provides-covid-19-debt-relief-for-smes-students/

As the Coronavirus Spreads the Rand Hits New Lows

The rand is trading at new lows as the coronavirus continues its spread across the US and Europe. 

Investors piled into haven assets as the greenbacks flew against emerging market currencies including the rand according to the Bloomberg. There is fear among investors that Covid-19 will push the economies into a freefall. 

As the market processes the implications of a continued economic downturn and job losses, the dollar is rallying on haven demand according to Christopher Wong a senior foreign exchange strategist from Malayan Banking Bhd. Currencies that are susceptible to capital outflows and currencies that were favourite carry trades will start to feel fresh selling pressure. 

Treasury partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, Bianca Botes has noted that the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 have intensified, which will have a further knock on the global economy. Flights have been cancelled and lockdowns in a number of countries have intensified if an effort to stop the spread. 

There are still many questions looming over how the coronavirus will impact the economy, which in the fourth quarter slipped into a technical recession. 

On Friday, the country could be losing its last investment grade credit rating from Moody’s. If this happens then it could lead to heavy outflows, which will batter the rand even further. 

At the moment the rand is trading at new lows. The dollar/rand is trading at R17.75, the pound/rand is at R20.69 and the euro/rand is at R19.07.

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/banking/383863/rand-reaches-fresh-lows-as-coronavirus-continues-rapid-spread/

Don’t Have Kids…You Still Need Life Cover

If you have children that are dependent on you then you will already know that life insurance is essential, but if you don’t have kids, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need life insurance. There are several other reasons that you may need life cover. You should definitely have life insurance if anyone is depending on your income. 

Life Insurance is for Anyone You Support Financially, Not Just Kids

You may be under the impression that you only need life cover if you have children, however, there might be other people who rely on your income and without it, they would struggle financially. 

Those that rely on your income will benefit from you taking life insurance as it will provide them with financial security when you are no longer around. 

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself, so you can decide if you need life insurance even though you don’t have children. 

Do You Support Family Members Financially?

Are you offering financial assistance to anyone in your family? Like paying for family members that live with you, paying the rent for your parents, giving a loan to a relative or anything else. If you were no longer able to offer these family members financial help, would they be able to cope?

A life insurance policy will payout to these family members that you support, so they can get a financial boost and still be able to afford their lifestyle when you are no longer here. 

Are You Living or Married to Your Significant Other? Then You Need Life Cover

When living with a partner or married our finances usually become one. We might pay for different things or contribute in different ways, but we often share everything. 

If you were no longer around then your partner would only have one income to pay for everything that you were both paying for, so you need to ask yourself if they would be able to afford it. 

Losing your partner is tough and life insurance can’t replace the one you love, but life insurance will make things easier for the surviving partner and they will be able to carry on with their lifestyle and be supported financially even when you are no longer around.

Do You Have Debt?

You should take a look at your finances and determine your total amount of debt. Now think about what happens to your debt when you die. Well, your debt doesn’t disappear when you are no longer here, it still needs to be paid. This burden will often end in the laps of your family, but with a life insurance policy in place, the payout could be used to pay your debts, so that your family doesn’t have to. 

You Can Still Help, Even When You Are No Longer Here

There are probably a hundred different ways that you contribute to your family and friends and that is just a part of life and who you are. Your financial contribution no matter how big or small does make a difference to their lives and you can continue this when you pass on by having life insurance in place, so you can still help those that relied on you. 

Who Will Take Care of Your Family When You Are No Longer Here…Why You Must Choose a Beneficiary for Life Insurance

Life insurance is there to take care of your loved ones financially when you are no longer here. If you are the main breadwinner in your family, then you will need a life insurance policy. Naming a beneficiary is then important when you take a life policy, as this will be the person that will receive your life insurance benefit in the event of your death. 

If you have not named a beneficiary then the policy pays to estate, which includes all your property and debts. This can cause a couple of issues. Firstly, the money that is in your estate won’t be immediately available to your family and the legal process can take up to a year. The second issue is that once the insurance pays to your estate, any money that you owe can be claimed. 

Why You Should Name a Beneficiary

If you have named a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, then the payout will be made as soon as the claim is approved. Your family will then have immediate access to a lump sum. As the money is paid to your beneficiary and not your estate, creditors will not have any claim to it. 

Often naming who your beneficiary should be is straightforward as it is usually a spouse or an adult child. However, if you have younger children then you will need to rethink as a minor cannot be a beneficiary and they will need to have someone to manage the money on their behalf. 

This means that you will need to have a will that states who the guardian will be. You will need to choose someone responsible and trustworthy as well as someone that will carry out your wishes and take care of your children. You need to be honest with yourself and choose someone whether it be a family member or a friend, that will do the right thing when you are no longer here. 

What You Need to Know About Beneficiaries

With a life insurance policy, you can change the beneficiary at any time. Many people change beneficiaries when life circumstances change like if they get a divorce or if a child has reached adulthood. Review your policy often to make sure that you are still adequately insured as will as checking if your beneficiaries are still appropriate. 

If the beneficiary that you have chosen dies before you then you can call your insurance provider and name a new beneficiary. If the beneficiary dies at the same time as you, then the policy will payout to your estate. 

You can have multiple beneficiaries on your life insurance policy and you can stipulate the portion of benefit that each beneficiary will receive. 

It can be hard to think about these things and to discuss them with your loved ones, but it is necessary. You will need to have a will in place so you can be sure that your family is looked after once you are gone. 

Making these decisions now can give you and your family great peace of mind, so make sure that you have a life insurance policy in place and that you have named your beneficiaries. 

Do You Know How Much Life Cover You Need?

When it comes to life insurance it can be difficult to determine how much cover you need to make sure your family is set financially. To help you calculate how much cover is adequate, you can ask yourself these questions. 

What Are You Spending?

When it comes to determining how much cover is enough, your expenses will play a vital role. Evaluate your expenses and keep the cost of inflation in mind so you can get an idea of how much life cover you will need, so that your family can continue the same standard of living. 

Are You Carrying Debt?

If you are carrying debt like a house, a car, a student loan, credit card debt or any other form of debt then you will need to have enough life insurance to cover this. If you are not prepared for this through life cover then the debt will go to your loved ones, which will add stress, worry and financial pressure. 

Are People Dependent on You?

If you have parents, siblings or extended family that rely on you financially, then you will need to consider what will happen to them when you are no longer around. You will need to consider how much they will need to continue with their everyday expenses. 

How Much Are Your Earning?

There could come a time where you are no longer able to earn a salary because of an illness or in the event of your death. This means that your loved ones and you will need a plan in place to assist financially. Life insurance will replace your lost income and with a range of investment portfolios, you can protect your income if you can no longer earn a salary. 

Is There Going to be a Shortfall?

Life insurance is a great way to protect yourself and your family, but insurers will differ in terms of how much they will cover you for. You may apply for a certain amount of life insurance but due to other factors like your health, your lifestyle and so on, you may be only covered for a smaller amount. This means you will need to determine how you will cover the shortfall from what you applied for and what you were approved for. 

Getting life insurance doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You can easily get a life insurance quote from FinanceMan Life Cover in just a few minutes and speak to an agent to determine the best cover for you and your family. 

What Will Covid-19 Cost the South African Economy?

On Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster and made it clear how serious the coronavirus outbreak is being viewed by the government. Not only in terms of the health and well-being of the people, but also the impact it will have on our economy. 

The South African economy is already weak and the country can’t afford another blow that Covid-19 will deliver. However, the president has said that the cabinet is putting together a package of interventions to mitigate the impact. 

The Impact of Covid-19

What this package includes will be important, as the potential for disruption will be huge. Last week, the turmoil experienced in the financial markets shows how worried investors are about the impact of the coronavirus on a global level. 

There is still a lot of discussion taking place on how long the impact of Covid-19 will last, with investors debating as to whether the coronavirus could derail the global cycle. 

Global chief economist at Morgan Stanley, Chetan Ahya, has said that with the harsh drops in global asset markets recently, the impact to global growth in the first half of the year could be sizeable due to the coronavirus. However, there needs to be some clear perspective on the outlook for the full year. At the beginning of the year, Morgan Stanley held a positive view on the world economy and was expecting a rebound in growth, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 has changed this. The disruption to economic activity will slow global growth this quarter. 

The question is though whether the shock will extend beyond that. 

Going Quarter by Quarter

Morgan Stanley believes that if the virus can be contained to the end of March and the impact on global production is limited to the first quarter, then the world economy could only take a short term knock and that recovery over the rest of the year would be strong. However, if new cases continue to rise during April and May then the effects of Covid-19 will be amplified.

This will then have a huge impact on the profitability and cash flows of companies, especially, to those that have high levels of debt. 

Ahya noted, if the dislocations in asset markets continue into the second quarter then a tipping point could be marked by a sharp tightening in financial conditions, which will worsen the impact on growth due to falling capital expenditures, weaker corporate confidence and cutbacks in hiring. 

A global recession could hit if the virus and its impacts are not contained by the third quarter according to Morgan Stanley. 

The Risk to South Africa

South Africa is not able to escape these global forces and if the number of local cases grows then businesses could be heavily disrupted. 

Director at Ninety-One, Jeremy Gardiner, said the impact could be significant as South Africa is struggling to grow as it is. For instance, East London, survives on Volkswagen and BMW factory jobs, but if one person in the factory gets sick then the entire factory will close and you are not able to make cars from home. 

Tourism will also take a hit, as travel from high risk countries has been halted and these countries make up a large part of South Africa’s tourists. Gardiner pointed out that one permanent job is created in South Africa for every eight tourists. However, countries are going into lockdown and travelling will stop. Cancellations are already occurring for the coming months and smaller tourism operators will feel the biggest impact as they do not have the balance sheets to sustain them through low cash flow periods. 

Making Ends Meet

Many small businesses across several sectors are feeling the impacts already with lower orders and supply chain disruptions. 

Gardiner pointed out that global supply chains are under threat as China is the workshop for the world and if China is not able to produce then nobody can get their products and if products can’t be sold then revenues take a hit. 

Businesses that will be hit the hardest will be those that carry a lot of debt as they will not be able to generate enough to cover repayments.

Omar Hassan, an economic development specialist said that the coronavirus may bankrupt more people then it kills, which is why the government’s response is important. Rossouw said that there is a state of urgency and a realisation that the issues need to be dealt with, which is good news. 

Article Source: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/how-much-could-covid-19-impact-the-sa-economy/

Here’s What You Need to Know about Ramaphosa’s National State of Disaster

President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed the nation and listed the restrictions to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in South Africa. 

At the time of his address, South Africa had 61 confirmed cases and the number is expected to rise. Ramaphosa said that the situation will need an extraordinary response and that the national state of disaster has been implemented in the country. 

He went on to say that any person that has visited a high risk country in the last 20 days will be denied a visa. South Africans that are returning from such countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on their return. 

The following measures have been decided by cabinet:

  1. Travellers coming in from medium risk countries like Portugal, Singapore and Hong Kong will have to through high intensity screening. 
  2. Travellers that have entered SA since mid-February from high-risk countries will need to present themselves for testing.
  3. OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports will be strengthening their surveillance, screening and testing measures. 
  4. There are 72 ports of entry into South Africa which are sea, land and air ports. 35 of the 53 land ports will be shut down from the 16thMarch and out of the eight sea ports, two will be closed for crew and passenger changes. 
  5. All non-essential travel for all spheres of government outside of the Republic is prohibited. All non-essential domestic travel is discouraged. 
  6. Gatherings of 100 people or more will be prohibited. 
  7. If small gatherings are unavoidable then strict measures will need to put in place for prevention and control. 
  8. From 18thMarch, schools will be closed until after Easter weekend. The mid-year school holidays will then be shortened by a week. 

Government is currently working with universities, colleges and other public facilities to intensify hygiene control. Visits to correctional centres will be suspended for 30 days effective immediately. 

Practice Good Hygiene

The state is partnering with the private sector to set up national tracking, tracing and monitoring systems of all people infected with the coronavirus and those that have been in contact with them. 

Ramaphosa has urged all South Africans to practice good hygiene. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 29 seconds and to use hand sanitizer. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Avoid any close contact with anyone that is showing cold or flu-like symptoms. 

All South Africans need to change their behaviour and minimise physical contact with other people.

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/381789/ramaphosa-declares-a-national-state-of-disaster-over-the-coronavirus-heres-what-you-need-to-know/