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WATCH: February Economic Update

Good news from Tito’s budget; coronavirus continues to impact markets.

  • The much-anticipated budget speech held on February 26 was surprising as the scare of an increase in VAT and personal income tax expected by most economists was not introduced. Instead, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delighted most with news of tax relief in personal tax and more ways of saving from the government.
  • The JSE All-Share index gained 0.43% following the budget speech. This was led by investors celebrating the government’s plans to reduce spending.
  • European shares suffered their biggest drop since mid-2016 with news of coronavirus cases in Italy, South Korea, Japan and Iran. This sent investors scrambling to find protection in gold and government bonds.
  • Gold reached its highest level in seven years on Friday, February 21 as demand for safe-haven assets increased as a result of global sell-off in equities.
  • As the virus now begins to spread through Europe, authorities are on high alert. The number of people killed worldwide by the coronavirus has exceeded 3 000.
  • The US stock markets closed lower on February 28 down 0.80%. This marked the worst weekly performance since 2008.
  • The rand extended loses as the markets once again battled with a global sell-off sparked by further virus outbreaks around the world. The dollar traded at R15.70 late Friday afternoon the 28.
  • Early March heralds the start of talks between Britain and the EU, and for now, both sides are talking tough. Ireland believes it will be impossible to reach an agreement before year-end.

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