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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

CompCom case against banks, unemployment rate increases, trade balance figures expected, Tower Property results, Gautrain strike.

Here’s what caught our attention on Tuesday:

1. CompCom grills commercial banks 

The Competition Commission’s case against commercial banks enters its second day on Tuesday. The case concerns 30 individuals who are linked to 23 banks, being accused of rigging trades in the rand-US dollar currency exchange to boost profits. The CompCom is calling for a 10% fine on annual turnover on the banks concerned, according to Moneyweb, these are Standard Bank, Investec Bank, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch International, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and many more. On Monday, the banks objected to the CompCom’s findings, saying it is relying on broad accusations and lacks evidence. 

Read the full story here: Banks tear into CompCom’s currency-rigging case

2. Labour force survey

South Africa’s employment rate increased to 27.2% in the second quarter, data from Statistics SA showed on Tuesday. Stats SA cites the manufacturing sector as having the most job losses during the period.In the first quarter, South Africa’s unemployment rate was at 26.7%, unchanged from the previous period.

3. Trade balance

South Africa’s trade balance for June is expected to be released on Tuesday. In May, trade surplus increased to R3.52 billion from an upwardly revised R1.17 billion in April. According to Trading Economics, given the data from January to May 2018, South Africa posted a trade deficit of R17.77 billion.

Update to follow.

4. Tower Property Fund financial results

Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit), Tower Property is reporting a revenue decrease of 7% to R416 million, while profit decreased by 18% to R377 million for the year ended May 31 2018. The company says it was not immune to South Africa’s tough economic and political climate over the past few months. Distributable earnings for the period totaled R265 million, while distributions grew by 5% to R275 million- slightly lower than the guidance of 6%. A gross cash dividend of 40.26 cents has been declared.

5. Gautrain deals with its first-ever strike

Following a strike over pay by Gautrain workers on Monday, the United National Transport Union (Untu) is calling for Bombela Operating Company to disclose its financials and the bonuses paid to executives. Moneyweb is reporting that Bombela is refusing to disclose its books to the union, even under confidential basis. Untu members are demanding a 10% increase, while Bombela says it will only make an 8.5% offering.

The strike is said to continue indefinitely.  

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