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Market Commentary | The week that was

Taxi Strike: The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced a two-day strike to protest the Western Cape government’s cancelling its Blue Dot taxi project; the issuing of expensive traffic fines; and vehicle impoundments. The strike is expected to have a negative impact on matric pupils writing life sciences and geography exams who make use of taxi transport. More than 32 800 matric candidates are writing exams on Monday, and 27 154 on Tuesday.

Eskom: Government desperately seeks money for diesel as load shedding intensifies. According to Eskom’s chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer, the loss-making, indebted utility has already spent more than R11 billion on fuel in the 10 months leading up to October. If money to purchase fuel run out, load shedding would get worse, he said. In response to severe concerns about the possibility of more widespread blackouts in the coming months, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan met with members of Eskom Holdings' board on Sunday. Electricity disruptions are anticipated to worsen during the week.

Possibility of banning the export of scrap metal: Cabinet has approved measures to slow down the theft of public infrastructure. Despite opposition from several stakeholders - including a significant trading partner like the European Union (EU) - government is planning to impose stricter measures to stop the theft of metal infrastructure.

Crypto collapse: Bloomberg News reports that since peaking in November 2021, the market capitalization of all crypto assets has decreased by an estimated 73%, wiping down $2 trillion in value.

Markets: On Friday trading saw little movement in the South African rand as investors awaited Standard & Poor (S&P) Global and Moody's evaluations of South Africa's sovereign credit ratings. Although rising commodity prices helped to improve government's finances, issues like ongoing power outages and a labour conflict in the public sector suggest that rating agencies may postpone any decisions until after the February budget in 2023. On Monday (21 November), the rand was trading at R17.34/$, R17.82/€ and R20.51/£. Brent crude was trading at $86.84 a barrel.

Looking at the week ahead: On Thursday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is anticipated to increase its policy rate by 75 bps. The US Federal Reserve’s (FED) decision to continue raising interest rates will be on the minds of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members even though inflation has stubbornly eased since the last MPC meeting and ZAR has made strong gains against the USD.

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