5 Important things happening today in South Africa

Here’s what happens today in South Africa and impacts it:

Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have been reported to have reached 29 million, with the death toll at 925,000. There have been 956 new cases in South Africa bringing the estimated number to 650,749. Deaths hit 15,499 (a rise of 52) while recoveries climbed to 579,289, leaving the country with 55,961 active cases in custody.

Tariff hike: Eskom submitted an additional tariff proposal to the Nersa energy regulator, aiming to raise R5.4 billion through interest increases, including R1.3 billion – something it does for the first time. That is above the R27 billion application made by Eskom for its Regulatory Clearing Account. Eskom won a lawsuit against Nersa after the regulator illegally and irrationally truncated Eskom’s R13 billion submission. [Moneyweb]

Rate cuts: The dramatic decline in GDP in the second quarter offers room for more rate cuts, some economists claim – but the market remains somewhat divided, with many analysts hanging in a hold. A poll by Reuters showed that 15 economists expect the key lending rate of the SARB to remain unchanged at 3.50 percent, while 10 expect a 25-point reduction to 3.25 percent. Although some economists say there’s potential for the SARB to do more to support the economy by cutbacks, others argue the central bank has already done everything it could. [Maverick Diary]

Respite: Public hospitals have begun to return to regular operations, concentrating on therapies other than Covid-19 – while they remain on alert and ready to deal with a virus resurgence. During the virus peak in South Africa, beds for Covid-19 care were 90% occupancy and have now dropped to as low as 40%. For now, field hospitals and other facilities built to handle Covid-19 cases are also being dismantled or repurposed. [EWN]

Not prepared: The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board – which monitors the readiness of the planet to cope with incidents such as a global pandemic – says the world remains largely unprepared for future pandemics. In a recent report, the organization acknowledged that little or little was achieved after the initial outbreak in response to its recommendations, and had largely dismissed warnings of an impending pandemic over a year earlier. It said the Covid-19 outbreak was a harsh test for global preparedness – and it warned that it won’t be the last pandemic we face. [ENCA]

Markets: The rand firmed Monday, elevated globally as a coronavirus vaccine trial was back on track after a brief pause due to increased risk appetite. Currently, the vaccine trials are one of the most advanced in history, reigniting expectations of a solution to the pandemic that has destroyed global economies. The rand was steady on Tuesday at R16.62 on the dollar, R19.75 on the euro, and R21.35 on the pound. Reuters Commentary. [XE]

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