Tag: hike

SA faces ‘biggest ever’ fuel hike in October

By Tom Head for The South African

You might have heard a few horror stories about the petrol price in South Africa soaring by R1 for next month. Well, we’re here to tell you it all seems completely true.

The AA forecast a rise of R1.12 per litre of petrol, and a whopping increase of R1.38 for diesel in October – a devastating blow that has been described as “the biggest single hike” in our country’s history. But what’s fuelling this crisis, and why are costs spiralling so dramatically? We’ve got answers.

Oil prices are nearing $100 a barrel
There’s a very bleak outlook for oil prices on a global scale. This is by no means a consolation, but it goes some way to explaining why it’s getting ridiculous in South Africa. It’s not just internal factors that have ramped up the petrol price. Some commentators believe oil prices will hit a 10-year high of $100 a barrel soon.

Tension between the US and Iran
It’s hard to accept, but the world tends to revolve around America at this point. While President Trump is taking a more hostile approach to foreign policy, Iran has become one of his targets. Now, the country is one of the biggest exporters of oil in the world, but there’s trouble on the horizon.

The US government are set to impose further sanctions on Iran while pulling out of an agreement regarding a nuclear deal achieved by the Obama Administration. Production is already dropping in the Middle-Eastern country, and further financial turmoil will have a negative effect on oil costs.

Countries not producing the goods
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has highlighted that Libya produced 1.5 million barrels of oil a day before the regime collapsed in 2011. That number is now almost at a third of what it used to be.

Venezuela’s current crisis also got a mention. They are a member of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), but the oil industry has all but collapsed in the South American state. To put it in laymen’s terms, production is down and the cost has gone up.

A weak rand value to the dollar
It’s been a nightmare month for the rand, which has had to battle against the fierce knockout blow delivered by the recession. With the financial crisis coming as something of a surprise, the rand plummeted against the greenback and has struggled to find its feet ever since.

It soared above the R15 mark, and only recently came back down to R14.40. Most recently, Turkey’s currency tanked as a result of Trump’s intense import tariffs, aimed at stimulating industrial growth within the US.

In a global market, for every action, there is a reaction, and all emerging economies felt the knock-on effect of Turkey’s wobble.

Government subsidy backfires
Have you ever tried to help a situation but only gone and made things worse? Well, that’s effectively what happened to Jeff Radebe last month. The minister announced that the government would subsidise fuel costs for the month of September, meaning that an increase in the petrol price was smaller than forecast.

However, what were we just saying about actions and reactions? The slight relief felt this month will be compounded by the misery said to be coming our way next week.

For petrol prices to rise by a rand within a 30-day period is sharp, shocking rise. Had there been no government intervention, there’d be less of a knock-on effect. October’s rise could have been as “little” as 50 cents per litre, had South Africans been allowed to pay the full whack in September.

Week after week, there is always a petrol price hike threat to consumers in South Africa. Over a period of 10 years, the petrol price has fluctuated, increasing by a whopping 66% from R9,66 to R16,08. In the last 8 months of 2018, the price has increased from R14,42 to R16,08 inland.

The price hikes in 2018 alone placed a strain on the consumers and prompted the public outcry that led to the subsequent intervention by the government. The Department of Energy intervened after the Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa anticipated a drastic 23c to 25c per litre fuel price increase for the 5th of September 2018. The intervention led to the fuel price only increasing by 4.5c per litre.

According to Central Energy Fund calculations, local consumers could be hit by another bombshell as early indicators are that the fuel price could rise by R1.14 a litre in October. Making matters worse is the shock of the recession and the threat of downgrades by rating agencies.

OLX believes this directly affect more than three thirds of their users. “While OLX prides itself for making it super easy to buy and sell almost anything, our main source of traffic is price-conscious car buyers,” says Diana Mjojo, Communications Manager at OLX South Africa. “With the fuel prices going up again, this is a trend we don’t see coming to an end any time soon and we’re concerned about how it affects our users.”

9 out of the top 10 search terms for 2018 on the OLX platform are for the Cars & Bakkies category. According to the company, the OLX car buyer is financially savvy. They are willing to accept higher mileage vehicles if it means the price of the vehicle is lower.

Mjojo says OLX users are willing to save as much money as possible during these economically hard times. “Users will often pick the practical option over luxury, which may include older models, if it means the vehicles are cheaper. Not only are they conscious about the price of the vehicle but about the petrol consumption as well,” says Mjojo.

OLX advises consumers who aren’t already buying their cars on the platform to consider doing so as that is a smart way to save and set yourself economically free. “Whether you are looking for your first car, need a car to match your muscles or upgrading, OLX is a central place for you. We work with car dealerships that list their approved cars on the platform,” adds Mjojo.

By Kaunda Selisho for The Citizen 

The nation will have to pull those belts a whole lot tighter with a projected increase of about R1.14 a litre of petrol.

There seems to be no end in sight for South Africa’s perpetual rise in fuel prices as the Central Energy Fund (CEF) has predicted yet another increase for the month of October.

The CEF report, released earlier this week, attributes the projected increase to a weaker rand and a higher international oil price.

The most recent hike was capped at 5c after government intervention but was dubbed a “once off” to provide citizens a short reprieve after sustained increases over five months in the lead-up to September.

According to the CEF’s calculations, early indicators estimate that the fuel price could rise by R1.14 a litre in October.

Fin24 calculated that the inland price of 95 octane petrol would rise to a possible record high of above R17 a litre, thus affecting food prices and transport costs.

Petrol price triples in a decade

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA 

The price of a litre of petrol in South Africa increased from R6.92 in July 2008 to R15.53 in July 2018 at the coast, and from R7.16 to R16.02 inland – nearly tripling in the last decade.


Infographic: Fin24

Over the same period, the tax (or fuel levy) on a litre of petrol increased from a low of R1.27 in July 2008 to R3.37 in July 2018.

This means the tax on fuel increased by 165.35% in 10 years.

On Sunday, the department of energy announced that a litre of unleaded petrol will increase by 26c, pushing the price of a litre past R16 in the inland for the first time.

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe ascribed the increasing petrol price to the rand’s poor performance to the US dollar.

Radebe said the increase would have been 20c more if it wasn’t for declining oil prices.

Wealth tax and VAT hike being considered

With a massive tax shortfall in South Africa, new ways of drawing in revenue for the fiscus are being considered, including a wealth tax.

However, experts warn that a wealth tax is unlikely to cover even a quarter of South Africa’s current debt shortfall of R50 billion, meaning that a VAT increase in some form is also likely.

This is according to Judge Dennis Davis, who was speaking to BusinessDay ahead of a new wealth tax report set to be released by the Davis committee at the end of November.

Early signs indicate that a wealth tax could raise as little as R6-billion, meaning that it will have to be used in conjunction with other tax hikes.

“The problem with a wealth tax in SA is that it would be levied on an incredibly narrow base,” said Davis. “A huge amount of wealth in SA is also tied up in retirement funds, and we are busy investigating the implications of that.”

The committee is also concerned that a new wealth tax may penalise middle-class savings, and is aware that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) would need to institute a sophisticated system to administer it.

In comparison, Davis said that just a 1-percentage-point increase in the VAT rate (bringing it to 15%) would raise R20 billion.

Another option being mooted is a multi-tiered VAT system of 0%, 14% and 20%, said Davis.

This would result in a further twenty “necessities” being zero-rated, while luxury items such as smartphones could see a 20% VAT tax.

“It all comes down to the fact that we have to increase VAT,” said Davis. “Raising personal and company income tax isn’t going to get us there.”

Wealth tax

The Davis Tax Committee issued a media statement on 25 April 2017, calling for written submissions on the introduction of a possible wealth tax in South Africa.

This proposal arrived two months after an increase in the top income tax bracket for individuals by 4% to 45%, resulting in an effective capital gains tax (CGT) rate for individuals of 18%. This should be seen on the back of the increase the CGT rate by nearly 5% from 13.32% in 2014 to the current 18% in 2017.

Unlike income tax, where taxes flow from earnings (ie wages, salaries, profits, interest and rents), a wealth tax is generally understood to be a tax on the benefits derived from asset ownership.

The tax is to be paid on the market value of the assets owned year on year, whether or not such assets yield any income or differently put, it is typically a tax on unrealised income.

According to law firm ENSAfrica, while a wealth tax may undoubtedly be beneficial to address the divide between top and bottom level income earners, two main problems have been identified by some of the countries that have abolished this tax, namely the disclosure and valuation of the applicable “wealth”.

“Some of the reasons for its abolition have been cited as the disproportionately high administration and compliance costs associated with this form of tax, as well as capital flight from the country, said ENSAfrica.

“This sentiment is shared by France, where one report, established by the French Parliament, estimated that more than 500 people left the country in 2006 as a result of the impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (or ISF wealth tax). ”

“Looking at the above factors, it is difficult to see how a wealth tax will assist to improve South Africa’s weak economic growth and unemployment, in particular, if it incites a further flight of capital and a resultant decrease in economic activity,” it said.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

Motorists one of junk’s first victims

A fuel price increase will be the first major expense to hit South Africans as a result of a weaker rand‚ the Automobile Association of SA (AA) has warned.

The AA’s mid-month data forecasts that petrol will rise 55c a litre in May‚ while diesel will cost about 30c a litre more. Illuminating paraffin will cost an estimated 41c a litre extra.

The fuel-hike predictions are based on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.

“The loss of confidence by investors and the sovereign ratings downgrades by ratings agencies Fitch and S&P‚ have led to the rand slipping against the US dollar‚ down from around R12.35 at the beginning of the month to its current position of around R13.40‚” said the AA’s Layton Beard.

The AA said the rand’s weakness largely contributed to the expected fuel price increase‚ with hikes in international petroleum prices accounting for the balance.

“However, there is no certainty that the impact of the downgrades has been fully priced into the economy. The picture for May could be substantially different‚” Beard said.

By Suthentira Govender for www.businesslive.co.za

Hike or no hike?

South Africa Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago discusses currency manipulation, the performance of the rand, and the future of the central bank’s rate increase cycle.

South Africa’s central bank can’t yet call the end of its interest rate-increase cycle, even as the risks to inflation have eased since the Monetary Policy Committee’s January meeting, Governor Lesetja Kganyago says.

“It’s too early for me to make the call as to whether we are still on the tightening cycle or not,” Kganyago said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Jonathan Ferro. “We can’t say that” the increase cycle is now over.

Kganyago said in November the MPC may be close to the end of the tightening cycle in which it raised the benchmark lending rate by 200 basis points over two years to 7 percent by last March. This was in bid to bring price growth back to within the government’s target band after being outside it for most of last year as a drought raised food prices and the rand reached record lows.

The MPC, which will announce its next policy move on March 30, targets inflation between 3 percent and 6 percent.

Price growth eased to 6.6 percent in January, the first slowdown in five months, and five-year breakeven rates, a measure of inflation expectations, fell to the lowest since April 2015 on Friday. Oil and food price still pose risks, Kganyago said.

The risks to inflation have “definitely been mitigated compared to the previous policy-setting meeting,” he said. “Clearly, the recovery of the currency helps, but the rise in oil prices doesn’t help. Clearly the good rains help and the price of grains will come down, that helps, but that farmers are restocking their herds and meat prices remain high, doesn’t help.”

The rand was little change at 12.7712 per dollar by 3:02 p.m. in Johannesburg on Friday. Yields on rand-denominated bonds due December 2026 fell two basis points to 8.52 percent.

Economic growth in Africa’s most industrialized nation slumped to 0.3 percent for 2016, lower than government and central bank estimates, and the slowest rate since a recession seven years earlier

The central bank forecasts the economy will expand 1.1 percent this year, and 1.6 percent in 2018. There is still significant downside to growth, Kganyago said.

By Arabile Gumede for Bloomberg

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