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Mining production down 5.4% y/y in July

The longstanding issue of a national minimum wage re-emerges.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Good evening and welcome to the SAfm Market Update with Moneyweb. My name is Siki Mgabadeli.

First Rand’s normalised earnings for the year to June grew 7% to R22.9 billion. The group, which owns FNB, RMB and WesBank, says basic headline earnings per share were up 5%. We speak to Johan Burger, their CEO this evening.

Sanlam also came out with their earnings report. The first-half profit was down 7% as the South African economy struggled to boost growth. We’ll speak to Ian Kirk, the group CEO as well.

In our Tipping Point feature today we hear the story of businesswoman Wendy Luhabe.

David Shapiro is watching the markets for us, but first Tumisang Ndlovu has your business news headlines.

TUMISANG NDLOVU:  Thanks, Siki. Good evening.

South Africa’s mining production decreased by 5.4% year on year in July, while seasonally adjusted production decreased by 2.4%. That’s according to the latest figures by Statistics South Africa, which also show that mineral sales increased by 15.6% on a year-on-year basis.

Still on StatsSA data, manufacturing production increased by 0.4% in July, but the seasonally adjusted performance decreased by 1.5%. This has been attributed mainly to higher production in the petroleum, chemicals, rubber and plastics products division.

A National Income Dynamics Study shows that not much has changed for the poor since 2008 and that policy interventions are needed to turn the situation around. According to the findings of the study delivered by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe earlier today, the majority of poor South Africans surveyed for this report for the first time eight years ago remain poor. Professor Murray Leibbrandt shares his views.

MURRAY LEIBBRANDT:  Poverty is not worsening in the country, it’s improving, but it’s not improving as fast as we would like. Well, the trends are that it’s not that easy to get a job, so people in rural areas in particular experience a situation where the social grants are incredibly important to them.

TUMISANG NDLOVU:  And Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is reportedly weighing options on a national minimum wage. The longstanding matter re-emerged when Ramaphosa was answering questions in parliament yesterday. The deputy president says it’s critical that a balance is struck when determining an appropriate national minimum wage.

Financial indicators this hour: the rand is at R13.98/dollar, R18.55/pound and R15.73/euro. Gold is at $1 340/oz, platinum at $1 086/oz and Brent crude oil at $49.79/barrel.

More on these and other business stories on the Moneyweb website.

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