Financial News 20th November 2023

Market overview
The FTSE/JSE All Share closed last week at 73 920.75, increasing by 3.54%. The basic material and technology sectors increased by 7.43% and 6.12% respectively during the week. The oil & gas and telecommunications sectors decreased by 1.49% and 1.21% during the same period.
Looking at the MSCI indices, developed markets increased by 2.97% during the previous week, while emerging markets increased by 2.99% over the same period.

SA unemployment back to pre-COVID levels
South Africa’s unemployment rate decreased to 31.9% in the 3rd quarter of 2023, the lowest in a year from 32.6% in the prior period. Additionally, the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement fell to 13.1 million, while the discouraged work-seekers dropped to 3.2 million. 
The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes those discouraged from seeking work, was 41.2%, down from 42.1%. Looking at the sectors, job gains were mostly seen in finance and community & social services, while manufacturing, mining and transport recorded the biggest losses. The youth unemployment rate, measuring jobseekers between 15 and 24 years old, dropped to a one-year low of 58%.

Global inflation continues its decline
The annual inflation rate in the US slowed to 3.2% in October 2023 from 3.7%, below market forecasts of 3.3%. Meanwhile, the core CPI increased by 4% on the year and 0.2% on the month, below forecasts of 4.1% and 0.3% respectively.
Meanwhile, the inflation rate in the United Kingdom dropped to 4.6% in October, down from 6.7% in September. This marks the lowest rate since October 2021, due in part to the recent reduction in energy prices following Ofgem’s decision to lower the cap on household bills. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, has also eased to 5.7%, the lowest since March 2022. 

Thanks to PPS Investments for the weekly market overview.

Rand climbs with CPI, rate decision due this week
The rand strengthened in early trading on Monday, with investors looking ahead to inflation figures and an interest rate decision due later in the week. Read the full Moneyweb article here>

Oil gains continue as Opec+ considers more production cuts
Oil futures nudged higher on Monday, extending gains on expectations of Opec+ deepening supply cuts to shore up prices, which have fallen for four weeks on easing concern of Middle East supply disruption amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Read the full Business Day article here>

Dollar slides to over two-month low as Fed cut bets take charge
The dollar slid to a more than two-month low on Monday, extending a downtrend from last week as traders reaffirmed their belief that U.S. rates have peaked and turned their attention to when the Federal Reserve could begin cutting rates. Read the full article here>

Japanese shares climb to three-decade high as yuan rises
Japanese shares hit highs not seen since 1990 on Monday as strong earnings and offshore demand fuelled a three-week winning streak, while the yuan was nudged higher by China’s central bank. Read the full Business Day article here>

S&P keeps SA credit ratings unchanged despite growing debt burden
Despite a deterioration in South Africa’s government debt burden, S&P Global Ratings affirmed the country’s credit ratings and maintained a stable outlook. Read the full News24 article here>

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