SIKI MGABADELI: Good evening and welcome to the SAfm Market Update with Moneyweb. My name is Siki Mgabadeli.
The oil price is yet again in the news – a big story affecting global markets. Our market, though, I’m happy to inform you, in the green today with the all-share up just over 1.5% on the day. We’ll be chatting to David Shapiro about that. He’s been watching the markets for us.
And, being 2015, we are doing our annual stock-pick session this week, looking at the stocks you should be watching for this year. We chat to Nkareng Mpobane, who is portfolio manager with Ashburton Investments.
FNB says their housing market improved somewhat in 2014 and all indications are that it will continue to strengthen in 2015. So we will look at the latest index with John Loos, who is FNB’s property sector strategist.
And we are talking about medical schemes – that time of the year when some people consider changing their medical scheme to one that has lower premiums or changing to a less expensive benefit option. So we’ll be talking about that, looking at the do’s and don’ts.
But first, here’s today’s business news headlines with Tumisang Ndlovu.
TUMISANG NDLOVU: Thanks, Siki. Good evening.
Eskom is expecting additional strain on the power grid as more South Africans return from their holiday destinations. The power utility, which is also facing financial difficulties, was forced to implement nationwide load-shedding late last year. Reasons for this varied between high demand, depleted reserves as well as maintenance issues related to old and failing infrastructure. At the time Eskom group executive Steve Lennon urged South Africans to help the power utility through these challenges.
STEVE LENNON: It makes sense for you to know how much electricity you are using, and it makes sense for you to reduce the demand for electricity. If you are not doing it for Eskom do it for yourself, because it will save you money. If you haven’t got a solar water heater, get one. It’s great – a 40% reduction in your electricity bill.
TUMISANG NDLOVU: There is renewed concern over the continued fall in the international oil price. The price of Brent crude oil fell below $55/barrel yesterday, sparking heightened worries over a surplus of global supplies and lacklustre demand. Meanwhile African motorists continue to benefit from the international oil price as a sizeable drop in the petrol price comes into effect at midnight. The January fuel price adjustment announced by the Energy Department last month will see a decrease in all grades of petrol of between R1.23 and R1.27/litre.
And analysts are expecting the euro to remain volatile, having started off the year at a nine-year low. The currency fell to below €1.20/dollar, its lowest since 2006. This comes as central banks in Europe are deliberating over how and when to ease monetary policy further.
Financial indicators this hour – the rand is trading at R11.67/dollar, R17.72/pound and R13.90/euro. Gold is trading at $1 206.06/oz, platinum at $1 212.20/oz and Brent crude oil at $52.11/barrel.
• Subscribe to a daily email of transcripts from Moneyweb Radio – click here