Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Can finance minister Tito Mboweni persuade Moody’s to refrain from joining S&P and Fitch in downgrading SA’s credit rating to junk status with his budget speech at 2pm?

Foreign exchange traders appear to be expecting good news, sending the rand back under R16/€ and nearly back under R14/$ during the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Image: Iress

The rand was trading at R14.04/$, R15.93/€ and R18.33/£ at 6.20am.

Less of a cliffhanger than Mboweni’s budget is January’s inflation figure, which Stats SA is scheduled to release at 10am.

Inflation, as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI), is expected to have slowed from December’s 4.5% to about 4.3%.

Following worse-than-expected results from BHP on Tuesday, Glencore will hopefully live up the market’s high expectations for big mining companies on Wednesday.

Another miner scheduled to release results is Pan African Resources, which said on February 13 that it expected headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-December to double.

JSE-listed UK shopping mall owner Intu said on its website it will release its results for the year to end-December on Wednesday.

Transpaco said on Tuesday it expected to report on Wednesday that its interim basic and headline earnings per share declined by about 33%.

“An unprecedented prolonged three month plastic industry strike which impacted Transpaco during the company’s busiest period, October, November and December, coupled with a depressed consumer environment and a stagnant economy resulted in Transpaco’s decline in performance,” the packaging group warned shareholders on February 6.

Better-than-expected results from Walmart sent its share up 2.21% to $102.20, cheering Asian markets which in turn pointed to the JSE recovering Tuesday’s 0.12% drop when it opens on Wednesday.

laingr@businesslive.co.za