Rand sinks as expectations grow for higher US rates

The dollar surged on Friday to hit a six-week high against a basket of currencies as a bout of resilient economic data out of the United States raised marketplace semarang expectations that more interest rate hikes were in the offing.

Data on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, while other data revealed that monthly producer prices increased by the most in seven months in January.

The latest data releases gave the US dollar a leg up, knocking sterling to a fresh six-week low of $1.1952 on Friday.

This left the rand at its weakest level in more than three months. On Friday morning, the currency was trading at R18.24/$.

Similarly, the kiwi tumbled to a six-week trough of $0.6228, while the euro bottomed at $1.0652, its lowest since Jan. 9.

Against a basket of currencies, the US dollar index rose to a fresh six-week top of 104.31 and was on track for a third straight week of gains.

“The US economy, from recent data, shows that it’s still healthy. It doesn’t seem to be going into a recession any time soon,” said Tina Teng, market analyst at CMC Markets.

“The markets are pricing for higher-for-longer rates.”

Thursday’s reports followed data from earlier this week, which showed robust growth in US retail sales in January and signs of sticky inflation, stoking fears that the Federal Reserve would have to raise rates higher than previously expected.

US Treasury yields have also surged on the back of further hawkish rate repricing, with the two-year yields last at 4.6762%.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield climbed to a high of 3.900% on Friday, its highest since Dec. 30.

Markets are now expecting rates to peak just below 5.3% by July.

Fed officials have also signalled that the US central bank has further to go in raising rates, with two policymakers saying on Thursday that the Fed likely should have lifted interest rates more than it did early this month.

Elsewhere, the Aussie slid 0.46% to $0.6848, languishing near Thursday’s more than one-month low of $0.68405.

IT union NITES criticises the salary cut move of Wipro

Wipro’s move to cut salary offers to freshers awaiting onboarding by almost 50 per cent under one programme has been termed “unjust” and “unacceptable” by safetysignandlabel.com.au union NITES, which demanded that the IT company should reconsider its decision. Wipro’s decision reflects the global macro economic uncertainties and the challenges in the demand environment for tech companies, say market watchers.

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT services major, Wipro, recently reached out to candidates to whom it had earlier rolled out an offer of Rs 6.5 lakh per annum (LPA), and asked them if an offer of Rs 3.5 in annual compensation would be acceptable to them, instead. These candidates were reportedly waiting to be onboarded.

IT sector employees union NITES has slammed the move, saying the decision is “unjust” and “goes against the principles of fairness and transparency”. NITES has demanded that the management reconsiders its decision and engages in meaningful dialogue with the union to find a mutually beneficial solution.

Technology Helps Reducing Operational Inefficiencies in Global

With the advancement of technology and science over the past few decades, electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) has turned out to be an imperative part of our daily life. Nonetheless, the consumption, disposal, and production of e-waste have become unsustainable. The total review film consumption of EEE has escalated to 2.5 million tonnes. Devices such as laptops, radios, phones, and toys with batteries and power add to the volume of e-waste after use.

Although the volume is augmenting, the adoption of recycling and collection is very low and hence, the generation of harmful greenhouse gases, and the release of toxic substances during informal recycling are on the rise. It’s not only the developing or the lower economic countries affected by this problem, but the developed countries are also facing the challenges of proper management of these wastes. For many entrepreneurs and individuals, it is now a method of income by recovering important materials from the dumped items. Most of the time, the separation and recycling is carried out informally or rather unscientifically devoid of any safety and health standards. Various associations are considering this matter strongly and urged for an impeccable legal policy and also investment in technology and modern equipment for seamless recycling.

Global Challenges and Scenario
As of now, the recycling rate of e-waste globally is 20-30 percent and the collection rate is 50-60 percent. Globally, 53.6 million metric tons of total e-wastes were produced at the end of 2019. In the same year, China gained the status of the globe’s biggest producer of e-waste, which is around 10 million metric tons. It is then followed by the US, which is around seven million metric tons, claims a report of Statista.

SA rich opt for Mauritius as no inheritance tax fuels property boom

With its long stretches of white-sand beaches, blue lagoons and lack of inheritance tax, the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has long been a beloved destination for high-net-worth individuals in search of seclusion. 

Now, a new player is upping the ante for leisure-seekers. Kerzner International, developer of the Atlantis The Royal – the ultra-luxury Dubai hotel that recently hosted Beyonce in a R1.8m-a-night suite – is investing about R1.8 billion in 52 ultra-exclusive villas on Mauritius’s eastern coast. Prices for properties on the former nine-hole golf course range from $2.8 million (R51 million) for a two-bedroom unit to $14.4 million (R264 million) for a seafront villa.

Interest has been robust, with more than 80% of all available units in final negotiations, the developer said in January. Only “a few units” with the four-bedroom configuration have yet to be sold.

Property is a key source of direct investment in Mauritius, which relies mostly on tourism and manufacturing exports for foreign currency. Between 2014 and mid-2022, foreign direct investment in high-end property totaled 63.3 billion rupees (R25 billion), or roughly 40% of all inflow, according to the Bank of Mauritius. As real estate has boomed, that number has been steadily ballooning. Last year, the finance ministry projected that property sales helped push inflows to 25 billion rupees.

Located off the eastern coast of Africa and a four-hour flight from Johannesburg, the former Dutch, French and British colony has been a hotspot for high-end tourists for 70 years, although foreigners were banned from buying property in Mauritius until 2002. That year, the government rolled out the Integrated Resort Scheme, which offered residency to any foreign buyer who spent at least $375 000 (R7 million) on a luxury residence or “development scheme.”   

The first investor to bite was Medine, which owns 10 000 hectares of land in western Mauritius and set up the Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club. The Tamarina now includes 119 villas, a restaurant, a boutique hotel and an 18-hole golf course, and is, according to Joel Bruneau, managing director for the property cluster, “the one fully sold and fully completed IRS estate on the island.”

Among the newer entrants in the market is Heritage Villas Valriche, which sold its first villa in the southwest of the island in 2007 and is now in its final phase of expansion with the construction of 46 new units. In total, said CEO Anton de Waal, the project has attracted 13 billion rupees in foreign direct investment.

Stocks scatter as traders mull US rates outlook

Stock markets diverged Tuesday as dealers mulled fears the Federal Reserve would push interest rates higher than expected and for longer as it battles stubbornly-high inflation.

Oil prices rebounded, while the pound extended gains won on Brexit deal alterations aimed at smoothing some trading obstacles between the UK and the European Union.

The JSE’s All-Share Index was up half a percent, while the rand was slightly stronger at R18.39/$.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Monday agreed a sweeping overhaul of trade rules in Northern Ireland, which borders EU member Ireland.

Asia and Europe struggled to track overnight advances on Wall Street ahead of further US economic data due this week.

Recent figures showing a robust US jobs market and inflation not coming down as quickly as hoped have spooked traders this month as they bet on more US interest rate hikes, wiping out most of January’s equities rally.

“It hasn’t been the most thrilling start to the week but that didn’t stop investors from piling back into stocks on Monday in the hope that January data proves to be an anomaly,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

“That enthusiasm didn’t flow through” to Tuesday, he added.

Principal Asset Management analyst Seema Shah cautioned that it was “increasingly clear” that the Federal Reserve “is not yet finished with rate hikes”.