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South Africa

The business outlook is still challenging and activity has slowed as most companies are continuing to struggle with higher interest rates and interruptions to the supply of electricity. Load shedding is still taking place for between 10 and 12 hours on a daily basis, thereby affecting the economy and especially manufacturing industries and distribution. Public utility Eskom is still being hampered by ongoing maintenance and breakdowns at its power stations.   

Contrary to market expectations, the South African Reserve Bank increased the interest rate by 50 basis points in March and a further hike of 25 basis points could be approved at the next meeting.  

South Africa’s six-month ban on exports of copper, brass, gunmetal and ferrous scrap will be evaluated in May, with the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) then deciding the way forward (any further developments will be relayed in future Mirror reports). Aluminium and stainless steel scrap can still be exported through ITAC but export permits will be granted only if there are no objections from local consumers. Even when a permit is granted, the export tax must be paid before shipping the material.

Inflation in South Africa is currently running at 7.1% and the growth forecast for 2023 is at 0.10% owing to the aforementioned load shedding. The domestic currency is trading at 18.35 to the US dollar.