While South Africans battle through icy weather in places and a spate of Winter load shedding, the Rand has provided some positive and perhaps unexpected news. In May 2021, the Rand was the best performing Emerging Market (EM) currency, gaining 5.8% against the USD.
Let’s take a closer look, and find out why…
All investment related taxes remained the same.
- Maximum marginal rate for natural persons remains at 45% (reached when taxable income exceeds R1 656 600).
- Minimum rate of tax 18% on taxable income not exceeding R216 200.
- Tax free portion of interest income is R23 800 for taxpayers under 65 years, and R34 500 for individuals over 65 years.
- Local dividend tax remains at a flat rate of 20%.
- Foreign dividends remains at 20% but may be reduced in terms of Double Tax Treaties.
You can invest 27.5% of your total income (salary plus other income) in retirement products every tax year and receive tax relief from SARS on these contributions. Contributions that enjoy tax relief are capped at R350 000 per year.
Tax free savings accounts: the contributions limit is R36 000 per tax year and R500 000 over the individual’s live.
South Africa is facing an ominous debt trap, which creates a lot of anxiety about a potential ‘raid’ on formal savings to keep government going. In response, there has been much speculation in the press and social media platforms about prescribed assets – and in particular – the possibility of amending Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act to include provision for investment in infrastructure.
Around the world, various governments have embarked on quantitative easing (QE), coupled with support programmes to help alleviate the disastrous economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, QE manifests as support for financial markets, rather than for the ‘real economy’. Notably, QE is a tool whereby the rich get richer – from rising stock prices – in the hopes that the wealth effect will see them spend money that will trickle down into the real economy. As it stands, the real economy is in dire trouble – and business profits are falling – whilst the global financial economy is in an upswing with a stock market recovery that is in full force. Equity prices are moving upward.
The video below by James Downie from MitonOptimal provides some context around what has happened in markets in 2020 thus far. James provides some perspective on the major market influences South Africa investors have been faced with and what their impacts have been (and may continue to be).