Power utility Eskom once again dominated the news headlines in South Africa
throughout the month. The country was at stage 6 for seven straight days for the first
time ever, which undoubtedly would have slowed down economic activity.
On Wednesday, 22 February, the Minister of Finance, Mr Enoch Godongwana,
delivered his annual budget speech which was generally warmly welcomed by the
business community and investors. The focus was however heavily on Eskom and the
larger power issue.
There was no increase in any of the major tax rates, a package of debt relief for Eskom
totaling R254 billion over the next three fiscal years and predicted primary budget
surpluses (excluding interest payments) starting in 2022/23 were among the significant
To add to an already gloomy month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an
intergovernmental organization that establishes global standards aimed at preventing
money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) activities, also added South Africa
to a list of nations under increased monitoring for failing to meet certain standards in
combating ML/TF. This was however a highly anticipated development. SA joins the
list as the first new G20 member.
Local equities delivered a total return of -2.32% m/m in February, with listed property
also in the red, returning -0.72% m/m. The ALBI recorded a total return of -0.87%
m/m, the CILI inflation-linked bond index returned 0.45% m/m and cash returned
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