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Market Commentary | The week that was

South Africa claims fourth Rugby World Cup title: The Springboks secured a back-to-back victory with a thrilling 12-11 win over New Zealand. The celebration included a joyous Trevor Nyakane dance and a surprise visit from tennis legend Roger Federer, who celebrated with the team. However, the World Rugby Awards snubbed the Springboks, with Ardie Savea, Andy Farrell, and Mark Telea taking top honors. Despite this, Eben Etzebeth made it to the World Rugby Men's 15s Dream Team of the Year.

SARB Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo resigned: Naidoo's exit comes as a surprise and nearly 18 months before his second five-year term's scheduled end in March 2025, with his departure date yet to be decided. Speculations are sparking concerns about political interference in monetary policy. Naidoo is a key role player on the Monetary Policy Committee, responsible for interest rate decisions, and his exit may disrupt the committee's balance.

The mining sector faces ongoing job losses: SA's mining sector is bracing for further job losses due to ongoing challenges, including unreliable power supply, water shortages, and logistical hurdles. Mining analyst Peter Major emphasizes that the government must act swiftly to prevent a rise in unemployment and poverty as major mining companies, such as Kumba Iron Ore and Anglo American Platinum, report declining production. Inefficient logistics, including Transnet's rail and port issues, hinder these companies from capitalizing on rising demand and high commodity prices, leading to deferred investments and potential layoffs.

Treasury delays two-pot pension reform: The new proposed two-pot retirement system, technically comprising three pots, aims to provide retirement fund members with the flexibility to withdraw one-third of their savings before retirement while safeguarding the remaining two-thirds for retirement. Responding to industry needs, the South African National Treasury, along with SARS, has delayed the system's implementation by a year to March 1, 2025, allowing additional time for administrative preparations.

Markets: The South African rand strengthened ahead of the mid-term budget, trading at R18.83 against the US dollar, R22.81 to the British pound, and R19.89 to the Euro on Monday. Gold remains above $2,000 on the back of the situation in the Middle East as investors seek a haven.

The week ahead: On Wednesday, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will present the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), and monetary policy meetings will be held this week by the US Fed, Bank of England, and Bank of Japan. Additionally, the US nonfarm payrolls and unemployment data on Friday could support the Dollar.

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