COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

STAFF REPORTER
Oil prices advance as investors reassess US inventories data

REUTERS

Oil prices edged up on Thursday, following two consecutive sessions of decline, as investors reassessed the latest data on U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories and returned to buying mode.

Brent crude futures for May were up 40 cents, or 0.5%, at $86.49 a barrel while the more actively traded June contract rose 36 cents, or 0.4%, to $85.77. The May contract expires on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery were up 44 cents, or 0.5%, to US$81.79 a barrel.

Both benchmarks were on track to finish higher for a third consecutive month, and were up about 4.5% from last month.

In the prior session, oil prices were pressured following last week's unexpected rise in U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories, driven by a rise in crude imports and sluggish gasoline demand, according to Energy Information Administration data.

However, the crude stock increase was smaller than the build projected by the American Petroleum Institute.

CEOs leave Davos to game out 2024 geopolitical scenarios

REUTERS

Business leaders in Davos say they are increasingly turning to scenario planning to safeguard supply chains and lessen the potential hit from unexpected geopolitical crises.

Many CEOs and executives told Reuters they foresee an upbeat U.S. economy in 2024, but are concerned about China and Europe, and the impact of unexpected global shocks on inflation.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) this year took place against the backdrop of conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as impending elections in dozens of countries.

"Just when governments and companies get their arms around how to deal with one flare-up, another emerges," said David Garfield, Global Head of Industries at strategic consulting and turnaround specialist AlixPartners, adding a big issue at board level and executive leadership level is scenario planning.

SARB keeps interest rates on ice for now

BUSINESS REPORT

Lesetja Kganyago, the recently reappointed South African Reserve Bank (SARB) governor, kept interest rates on ice, dashing hopes for consumers paying back loans who will have to wait until later this year for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to lower rates.

This means that the repo rate will remain at 8.25%, while the prime lending rate also stays at 11.75%.

The governor said that inflation continues to be a problem in the country and around the globe, as well as unemployment rates.

He said, “Since the start of the year, we have seen persistent global inflation pressures. Headline inflation rates are generally lower than they were a year ago, but underlying inflation is still elevated. Goods inflation has declined significantly, as supply shocks wear off, but there is evidence of stronger inflation in services, across a range of economies. Meanwhile, unemployment rates remain low – especially in the US.”

Spar sales higher under tough operating conditions

Spar, the retailer with a market capitalisation of N$16.8 billion, posted an 8.8% increase in group turnover for the 24 weeks ended 15 March 2024 prior to Spar entering its financial closed period in respect of the six months ending 31 March 2024.

Group turnover was negatively impacted by fluctuations in exchange rates since the group reported turnover for the 20 weeks ended February 16.

The macroeconomic environment in its stores operated in South Africa, Ireland, the UK, Switzerland and Poland faced several headwinds, the retailer said.

The operating environment in South Africa, which accounts for more than 60% of Spar’s revenue, continued to be challenging. While inflation is back within the South African Reserve Bank's target range, a combination of 14-year high interest rates, muted gross domestic product growth forecasts and a high unemployment rate continue to place consumers under immense pressure, the group said.

Spar Southern Africa's total wholesale sales growth of 5.7% was impacted by a weaker-than-expected grocery business performance.

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Premier League: Chelsea 6 vs 0 Everton | Arsenal 0 vs 2 Aston Villa | West Ham 0 vs 2 Fulham | Liverpool 0 vs 1 Crystal Palace | Bournemouth 2 vs 2 Manchester United | Manchester City 5 vs 1 Luton Town | Brentford 2 vs 0 Sheffield United | Burnley 1 vs 1 Brighton | Nottingham Forest 2 vs 2 Wolves | Newcastle 4 vs 0 Tottenham Hotspur LaLiga: Osasuna 0 vs 1 Valencia | Real Sociedad 2 vs 2 Almería | Athletic Club 1 vs 1 Villarreal | Granada 2 vs 0 Deportivo Alaves | Las Palmas 0 vs 2 Sevilla | Cadiz 0 vs 1 Barcelona | Mallorca 0 vs 1 Real Madrid | Rayo Vallecano 0 vs 0 Getafe | Atletico Madrid 3 vs 1 Girona SerieA: Atalanta 2 vs 2 Hellas Verona | Fiorentina 1 vs 1 Genoa | Inter Milan 2 vs 2 Cagliari | Udinese 1 vs 1 AS Roma | Sassuolo 3 vs 3 AC Milan | Napoli 2 vs 2 Frosinone | Bologna 0 vs 0 Monza | Torino 0 vs 0 Juventus | Lecce 1 vs 0 Empoli European Championships Qualifying: Preston North End 0 vs 1 Norwich City | Bristol City 1 vs 1 Huddersfield Town | Swansea City 1 vs 0 Rotherham United | Hull City 3 vs 0 Queens Park Rangers | Sheffield Wednesday 1 vs 1 Stoke City | West Bromwich Albion 0 vs 1 Sunderland | Southampton 3 vs 2 Watford | Birmingham City 3 vs 0 Coventry City | Ipswich Town 1 vs 1 Middlesbrough | Millwall FC 3 vs 1 Cardiff City | Leeds United 0 vs 1 Blackburn Rovers English Championship: Preston North End 0 vs 1 Norwich City | Bristol City 1 vs 1 Huddersfield Town | Swansea City 1 vs 0 Rotherham United | Hull City 3 vs 0 Queens Park Rangers | Sheffield Wednesday 1 vs 1 Stoke City | West Bromwich Albion 0 vs 1 Sunderland | Southampton 3 vs 2 Watford | Birmingham City 3 vs 0 Coventry City | Ipswich Town 1 vs 1 Middlesbrough | Millwall FC 3 vs 1 Cardiff City | Leeds United 0 vs 1 Blackburn Rovers Katima Mulilo: 18° | 33° Rundu: 17° | 34° Eenhana: 23° | 35° Oshakati: 24° | 34° Ruacana: 23° | 36° Tsumeb: 19° | 32° Otjiwarongo: 17° | 32° Omaruru: 15° | 33° Windhoek: 13° | 29° Gobabis: 16° | 32° Henties Bay: 14° | 21° Wind speed: 22km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 04:10, High tide: 10:17, Low Tide: 16:39, High tide: 23:27 Swakopmund: 15° | 16° Wind speed: 26km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 04:08, High tide: 10:15, Low Tide: 16:37, High tide: 23:25 Walvis Bay: 14° | 25° Wind speed: 31km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 04:08, High tide: 10:14, Low Tide: 16:37, High tide: 23:24 Rehoboth: 13° | 31° Mariental: 14° | 30° Keetmanshoop: 16° | 30° Aranos: 16° | 32° Lüderitz: 13° | 28° Ariamsvlei: 16° | 30° Oranjemund: 13° | 23° Luanda: 26° | 29° Gaborone: 15° | 23° Lubumbashi: 15° | 25° Mbabane: 13° | 20° Maseru: 11° | 17° Antananarivo: 14° | 18° Lilongwe: 15° | 25° Maputo: 19° | 26° Windhoek: 13° | 29° Cape Town: 18° | 25° Durban: 18° | 25° Johannesburg: 13° | 21° Dar es Salaam: 23° | 25° Lusaka: 15° | 27° Harare: 13° | 26° Currency: GBP to NAD 23.61 | EUR to NAD 20.2 | CNY to NAD 2.63 | USD to NAD 19.02 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.33 | EGP to NAD 0.38 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.02 | ZMW to NAD 0.75 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.65 | RUB to NAD 0.2 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.51 | USD to AOA 832.82 | USD to BWP 13.85 | USD to EGP 48.49 | USD to KES 131 | USD to NGN 1138.13 | USD to ZAR 19.04 | USD to ZMW 25.1 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 72999.63 Down -2.04% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1520.5 Down -2.01% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13362.33 Down -0.08% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 29400.84 Down -0.73% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 383.51/OZ UP +0.06% | Copper US$ 4.28/lb DOWN -0.0157 | Zinc US$ 2 778.00/T UP 0.01% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 90.25/BBP DOWN -0.0054 | Platinum US$ 958.12/OZ DOWN -0.0145 Sport results: Premier League: Chelsea 6 vs 0 Everton | Arsenal 0 vs 2 Aston Villa | West Ham 0 vs 2 Fulham | Liverpool 0 vs 1 Crystal Palace | Bournemouth 2 vs 2 Manchester United | Manchester City 5 vs 1 Luton Town | Brentford 2 vs 0 Sheffield United | Burnley 1 vs 1 Brighton | Nottingham Forest 2 vs 2 Wolves | Newcastle 4 vs 0 Tottenham Hotspur LaLiga: Osasuna 0 vs 1 Valencia | Real Sociedad 2 vs 2 Almería | Athletic Club 1 vs 1 Villarreal | Granada 2 vs 0 Deportivo Alaves | Las Palmas 0 vs 2 Sevilla | Cadiz 0 vs 1 Barcelona | Mallorca 0 vs 1 Real Madrid | Rayo Vallecano 0 vs 0 Getafe | Atletico Madrid 3 vs 1 Girona SerieA: Atalanta 2 vs 2 Hellas Verona | Fiorentina 1 vs 1 Genoa | Inter Milan 2 vs 2 Cagliari | Udinese 1 vs 1 AS Roma | Sassuolo 3 vs 3 AC Milan | Napoli 2 vs 2 Frosinone | Bologna 0 vs 0 Monza | Torino 0 vs 0 Juventus | Lecce 1 vs 0 Empoli European Championships Qualifying: Preston North End 0 vs 1 Norwich City | Bristol City 1 vs 1 Huddersfield Town | Swansea City 1 vs 0 Rotherham United | Hull City 3 vs 0 Queens Park Rangers | Sheffield Wednesday 1 vs 1 Stoke City | West Bromwich Albion 0 vs 1 Sunderland | Southampton 3 vs 2 Watford | Birmingham City 3 vs 0 Coventry City | Ipswich Town 1 vs 1 Middlesbrough | Millwall FC 3 vs 1 Cardiff City | Leeds United 0 vs 1 Blackburn Rovers English Championship: Preston North End 0 vs 1 Norwich City | Bristol City 1 vs 1 Huddersfield Town | Swansea City 1 vs 0 Rotherham United | Hull City 3 vs 0 Queens Park Rangers | Sheffield Wednesday 1 vs 1 Stoke City | West Bromwich Albion 0 vs 1 Sunderland | Southampton 3 vs 2 Watford | Birmingham City 3 vs 0 Coventry City | Ipswich Town 1 vs 1 Middlesbrough | Millwall FC 3 vs 1 Cardiff City | Leeds United 0 vs 1 Blackburn Rovers Weather: Katima Mulilo: 18° | 33° Rundu: 17° | 34° Eenhana: 23° | 35° Oshakati: 24° | 34° Ruacana: 23° | 36° Tsumeb: 19° | 32° Otjiwarongo: 17° | 32° Omaruru: 15° | 33° Windhoek: 13° | 29° Gobabis: 16° | 32° Henties Bay: 14° | 21° Wind speed: 22km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 04:10, High tide: 10:17, Low Tide: 16:39, High tide: 23:27 Swakopmund: 15° | 16° Wind speed: 26km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 04:08, High tide: 10:15, Low Tide: 16:37, High tide: 23:25 Walvis Bay: 14° | 25° Wind speed: 31km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 04:08, High tide: 10:14, Low Tide: 16:37, High tide: 23:24 Rehoboth: 13° | 31° Mariental: 14° | 30° Keetmanshoop: 16° | 30° Aranos: 16° | 32° Lüderitz: 13° | 28° Ariamsvlei: 16° | 30° Oranjemund: 13° | 23° Luanda: 26° | 29° Gaborone: 15° | 23° Lubumbashi: 15° | 25° Mbabane: 13° | 20° Maseru: 11° | 17° Antananarivo: 14° | 18° Lilongwe: 15° | 25° Maputo: 19° | 26° Windhoek: 13° | 29° Cape Town: 18° | 25° Durban: 18° | 25° Johannesburg: 13° | 21° Dar es Salaam: 23° | 25° Lusaka: 15° | 27° Harare: 13° | 26° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 23.61 | EUR to NAD 20.2 | CNY to NAD 2.63 | USD to NAD 19.02 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.33 | EGP to NAD 0.38 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.02 | ZMW to NAD 0.75 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.65 | RUB to NAD 0.2 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.51 | USD to AOA 832.82 | USD to BWP 13.85 | USD to EGP 48.49 | USD to KES 131 | USD to NGN 1138.13 | USD to ZAR 19.04 | USD to ZMW 25.1 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 72999.63 Down -2.04% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1520.5 Down -2.01% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13362.33 Down -0.08% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 29400.84 Down -0.73% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 383.51/OZ UP +0.06% | Copper US$ 4.28/lb DOWN -0.0157 | Zinc US$ 2 778.00/T UP 0.01% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 90.25/BBP DOWN -0.0054 | Platinum US$ 958.12/OZ DOWN -0.0145