Skip to main content

South Africa

Business reopened in the middle of January and demand should improve from February.  

Load shedding is still occurring on a daily basis but at a reduced level after some maintenance took place in December and January. The outlook on load shedding seems to be a little more positive, mainly owing to the election taking place later in the year and the ruling ANC party requiring votes to remain in power with a majority. 

State-owned enterprises such as public utility Eskom and port, rail and pipelines custodian Transnet are in huge debt and need bail-outs from the government which will put further strain on the economy. There has been an improvement in the handling of containers at South African ports although a lot of work remains to be done to return to normal.

The prime lending rate was held at 11.75% following the first meeting this year of the South African Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. Inflation dropped from 5.5% in November to 5.1% in December, its lowest level since August last year. At the time of writing, the South African rand is trading at 18.85 to the US dollar.

In addition to the extended export ban on copper, brass, gunmetal and ferrous scrap, there is also the possibility of a change to the rules relating to the handling and processing of copper scrap; further clarity is awaited from the authorities. Aluminium scrap can still be exported through the International Trade Administration Commission but most dealers are selling locally, except in the case of one or two grades that are not consumed domestically and therefore need to be exported.