Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
1. President Cyril Ramaphosa says that South Africa is ready to offer Zimbabwe support – but did not offer any money. Zimbabwe previously asked for a $1.2 billion bailout from SA; however, at this time, the country has only received humanitarian packages and a promise of working together. [News24]
2. Standard Bank has provided evidence of apparent Gupta money laundering to the state capture commission. The bank submitted a ‘kickback’ letter, and bank statements showing ‘worrying’ multi-million rand transfers between Gupta-linked companies and shelf companies. [Daily Maverick]
3. Boeing has responded to the grounding of its 737 MAX jets across the world, including South Africa, by saying it has full confidence in the model.This despite two of the aircraft being involved in similar crashes within 5 months of each other. [TimesLive]
4. FirstRand expects its branch network to shrink over the next few years as its retail banking group FNB looks to further digitise its business. The bank said it would rather reduce floor space by about 30% than outright close branches. [Reuters]
5. South Africa’s rand firmed on Tuesday, supported by renewed risk appetite after potential progress on Brexit in Britain and as the dollar weakened after US consumer price data. On Wednesday the rand was at R14.39 to the dollar, R18.83 to the pound and R16.23 to the euro.