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March 2019 economic and market update

News from home and abroad.
  • Global stock markets have continued to recover after performing poorly during the last quarter of 2018.
  • US stocks ended on a good note for the first quarter of 2019. This was driven by hopes on a trade deal between the US and China as constructive and positive discussion continue between both parties.
  • China had better-than-expected manufacturing data which calmed some lingering concerns about the growth of the world’s second-biggest economy.
  • There is still a bit of anxiety with this never-ending Brexit saga, as they have now agreed and decided to extend the exit deal.
  • Chinese shares posted the biggest gains and equities climbed more than 1.5% in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea, building on the biggest quarterly upswing for Asian stocks since 2012.
  • The JSE recorded its best first-quarter performance since 2007. This was boosted by Naspers which gained 15.2% over the quarter. The JSE All Share index rose by 7.1% in the first quarter, erasing most of the losses incurred in 2018.
  • The SA Reserve Bank has kept interest rates unchanged at 6.75% and prime at 10.25%.
  • South Africa was relieved to escape a ratings downgrade by Moody’s on Friday, March 29. Moody’s retained its current grade rating with a stable outlook.
  • National Treasury and the Sars officials on March 6 2019 confirmed that it is going ahead with its plans to implement an ‘expat tax’ amendment to the South African Income Tax Act by March 1 2020.

ADVISOR PROFILE

Michael Haldane

Global & Local Investment Advisors

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