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Market Commentary | The week that was

Astral Foods reports historic loss: Astral Foods in South Africa has reported its first loss in 23 years, totaling R512 million, primarily due to a severe avian influenza outbreak and ongoing power outages. These issues led to the culling of over 1 million birds and costs exceeding R2 billion, significantly impacting their financial performance.

Climate protests force cancellation of Sasol AGM: Climate activists denounced Sasol's environmental policies during the recent Johannesburg event, echoing mounting investor concerns over the company's climate record. Some investors have indicated their intention to reject Sasol's climate resolutions. CEO Fleetwood Grobler acknowledged the challenges Sasol faces in its position as a greenhouse gas emitter. The rescheduling of the Annual General Meeting is pending.

OpenAI appoints former Twitch CEO Shear, overriding investor preference for Altman: The OpenAI board has selected Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, as its new Chief Executive Officer. This decision comes despite calls from investors, including Microsoft Corp and Thrive Capital, to reinstate Sam Altman, who was previously booted. Shear had recently stepped down from his role at Twitch, an Inc. game-streaming site. The selection of Shear marks a significant shift for OpenAI and a clear divergence from investor suggestions. The board sought a new CEO, approaching several high-profile tech industry executives before settling on Shear.

Markets: The South African rand strengthened to R18.30 against the dollar during early trading as investors await the inflation data on Wednesday and the interest rate decision from the South African Reserve Bank on Thursday. The dollar index declined amidst expectations of peaked U.S. interest rates, influencing market dynamics. The yield on South Africa's 2030 government bond edged down to 10.07% in early trading.

Week ahead: The South African Reserve Bank will release the leading business cycle indicator today, followed by the South African Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation data and the publication of the United States Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes on Wednesday. The week of economic announcements will continue on Thursday with the South African Reserve Bank interest rate decision. Japan will release its Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figures on Friday.

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