It has been a punishing 2020 for SA bank stocks, which are down almost 40%, already more than twice as deep a slump as in 2015, the sector’s previous worst year on record.

Even so, there are signs that sentiment may be turning for the better. While the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged earnings, banks have bolstered their defences by increasing provisions for Covid-19-related losses under revised accounting standards. High capital buffers have also remained intact, strengthening the case for dividends to resume once regulators give the go-ahead...

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