Financial News 15th January 2024

Market overview
The FTSE/JSE All Share closed last week at 74 240.75, decreasing by 0.33%. The healthcare and financials sectors increased by 1.35% and 0.86% respectively during the week. The technology and basic materials sectors decreased by 2.35% and 1.25% respectively during the same period.
Looking at the MSCI indices, developed markets increased by 1.55% during the previous week while emerging markets decreased by 0.57% over the same period.

SA manufacturing ends the year on a high
The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.9 in December 2023 from 48.2 in November, the first expansion in South Africa’s factory activity since April. Despite a slight decline in new sales orders, businesses experienced a resurgence in activity, attributed to fewer power cuts during the holiday season. 

China inflation remains negative
China’s annual consumer prices decreased by 0.3% in December 2023, marking the third straight month of decline which was the longest streak of drop since October 2009. China is struggling to jumpstart their economy after COVID with a protracted housing downturn, a soft job market and other headwinds such as debt risks dampening growth prospects, consumers have been reluctant to spend.

US job market surprises
The US economy added 216 000 jobs in December 2023, above market forecasts of 170 000. The total job gain for 2023 reached 2.7 million, the smallest annual gain since 2019 when excluding the pandemic year of 2020. It corresponds to an average monthly gain of 225 000.
With the increase in inflation to 3.4%, there are some questions as to when the US Fed will start to decrease interest rates.

Thanks to PPS Investments for the Market Overview.

Rand flat on Monday
The rand was flat against the dollar early on Monday and was expected to trade in fairly narrow ranges on account of a US public holiday, analysts said. Read the full Moneyweb article here>

Global stocks steady ahead of US holiday
Global stocks held steady on Monday, with US markets closed for a holiday, while Chinese equities fell slightly after the country’s central bank wrong-footed investors by skipping on a rate cut. Read the full Business Day article here>

Another massive electricity price hike hitting South Africans soon
Despite having the worst year of load shedding in 2023, and many analysts noting it is firmly here to stay in 2024, South Africans must prepare for another double-digit Eskom tariff increase this year. Read the full Businesstech article here>

‘Precarious’ year ahead for world economy, Davos survey predicts
The global economy faces a year of subdued growth prospects and uncertainty stemming from geopolitical strife, tight financing conditions and the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence, a survey of top economists released on Monday found. Read the full article here>

US economy set for another cash boost if congress backs tax deal
The US economy is set for an unexpected fiscal boost if lawmakers back a potential deal for $70 billion worth of tax breaks for businesses and families. Read the full Moneyweb article here>

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