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Market Commentary | The week that was

Cabinet reshuffle: On Monday (6 March), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the long-awaited changes to his cabinet, including the appointment of Paul Mashatile as South Africa's new deputy president. According to Ramaphosa, the reshuffling is intended to fill vacancies and improve the directing of government resources to areas that demand immediate and decisive action. Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa has been appointed as the Minister of Electricity in the Presidency, a new role announced by Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address in early February 2023. Ramokgopa formerly served as mayor of the City of Tshwane and was the head of investment and infrastructure in the president’s office. His primary responsibility will be to improve the performance of Eskom’s power stations.

Tesla reduce vehicle prices for a second time since the beginning of 2023: The company has reduced the pricing of its Model S sedan and Model X SUV in the United States (US) by $5,000 and $10,000, respectively, in order to boost sales in the final month of the quarter. Tesla sells its vehicles directly to consumers and frequently changes its pricing. At Tesla’s investor day, held on the 1st of March at Tesla’s factory in Austin, Texas, CEO Elon Musk and other leaders emphasised manufacturing efficiency and cost cutting. “The desire for people to own a Tesla is extremely high,” said Musk. “The limiting factor is their ability to pay for a Tesla.”

Markets: The rand was trading weaker on Monday (6 March), but remained within the last few weeks' R18.12 to R18.50 range. Monday’s trading prices stood at R18.17/$, R19.34/€, and R21.87/£. Brent crude was trading at $85.04 a barrel.

Looking at the week ahead: Local Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data will be released on Wednesday. On Tuesday and Wednesday the Chair of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, will deliver testimony and take questions from US lawmakers. Powell is likely to suggest higher interest rate levels than anticipated by policymakers just weeks ago. The President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, is due to speak on Wednesday. Other US data to be released this week is US non-farm payrolls due on Friday. China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) economic and political strategy outline will also be watched very closely this week. In Japan, the Bank of Japan's governor is expected to make his final interest rate announcement.

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