South Africa’s most competitive post-apartheid election is set for May 29, 2024

South Africa’s national and provincial elections on May 29th, will be the most competitive since apartheid with 27.7 million registered voters. 70 political parties and 11 independents are competing for votes this year. Voting stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., using three ballot papers for provincial and National Assembly seats. About 5,000 observers will monitor the process. Results are expected by June 1st and will be announced within seven days. The National Assembly will then elect a speaker and president, with new elections required if no consensus is reached within 90 days.

United States tariff increases on Chinese imports starting August 1st

Starting August 1st 2024, the United States will significantly increase tariffs on Chinese imports, including electric vehicles (EVs), batteries, and computer chips. President Biden plans to raise EV tariffs to over 100% and double semiconductor tariffs to 50%, continuing and intensifying the Trump administration’s policies. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has opened a 30-day public comment period ending June 28 to evaluate the impact. These tariffs aim to protect American jobs from cheap Chinese imports, affecting $18 billion in goods, notably lithium-ion batteries. China has vowed to retaliate, warning American companies and consumers of higher costs.

Pick ‘n Pay revamps: Ackerman family steps down from control

The Ackerman family is stepping down as Pick ‘n Pay’s majority shareholders amid a revamp. Gareth Ackerman will retire as chairman as the company implements a six-point strategy to restore profitability. The family supports the planned rights offer. Pick ‘n Pay reinstated former CEO Sean Summers last year after warning of its first interim loss since 2001. The company reported weak annual earnings and a substantial trading loss. Pick ‘n Pay’s stock has dropped 28% in the past year, making it the sixth-worst performer on the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

Market moves

South African markets closed positively on Friday, driven by gains in retail and mining stocks. Retailers like Cashbuild, the Clicks Group, and Pick ‘n Pay Stores saw increases, along with gold miners such as Sibanye Stillwater, Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti, and Harmony Gold Mining. Telkom SA SOC rose 2.3% after shareholders approved a tower portfolio sale, while Blue Label Telecoms gained 1.6%. Diversified miners like Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro Resources also saw an increase. Property developers Emira Property Fund, MAS, and Vukile Property Fund declined. The JSE All Share index fell 0.46% for the week.

The Week Ahead

Today, Japan will report on its Services Producer Price Index (PPI). Wednesday will mark South Africa’s National and Provincial Election. Thursday brings several key releases: South Africa’s Private Sector Credit and Producer Price Index (PPI), the Eurozone’s Unemployment Rate, and the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). South Africa’s Reserve Bank (SARB) will also announce its Interest Rate Decision. Finally, on Friday, South Africa will reveal its Trade Balance. China will release Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data, the Eurozone will announce its Consumer Price Index (CPI), and Japan will report on Retail Sales.

Source: FundFocus. Data as at 24 May 2024. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance. For illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any investment.

Source: FundFocus. Data as at 24 May 2024. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance. For illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any investment.