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Weak economy cuts number of South African companies paying tax – The Guardian

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Nearly half of companies in South Africa had no taxable income in 2017 while a quarter recorded a taxable loss, the South African Revenue service said on Monday, based on its latest 2017/18 data, highlighting the impact of weak economic growth.

The revenue service said based on its 2017 data, 48.3% of companies had taxable income equal to zero, 27.4% reported an assessed loss, and 24.3% had positive taxable income. Companies have up to 12 months from the end of their financial cycles to submit tax returns.

“The decline can largely be attributed to sluggish economic growth, structural challenges in some sectors of the economy, low confidence levels and political uncertainty,” the revenue service said.

“All of these factors play a role in subdued investment activity, resulting in lower profitability for companies.”

In the revenue service’s 2019 Tax Statistics, which measures revenue collection from 2014/15 to 2018/19 fiscal years, revenue collection for the current year ended March reached 1.287 trillion rand ($90.25 billion), short of a target of 1.302 trillion rand.

The collector said companies submitting returns had fallen 36.9% to just over 2 million for the 2018/19 fiscal year, partly due to many being considered “inactive or dormant”, while only 63.4%, or 572,000, of companies expected to submit returns had complied.

Tax revenues have fallen sharply in South Africa since 2015 due to weak economic growth and maladministration.

In addition, nationwide electricity blackouts, forcing mines and small businesses to shut down, have put more pressure on the economy and government finances.

In October, the National Treasury said the budget deficit would jump to 5.9% of gross domestic product by 2020, its highest since 2009/10, and likely reach a 6.5% deficit in 2021, well above government’s target of 4.5%.

($1 = 14.2606 rand)

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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Economy

Canadian dollar moves to extend weekly win streak as oil rebounds

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Canadian dollar

The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday and was on track for its seventh straight weekly gain as oil prices rose and domestic data added to evidence of robust economic growth in the first quarter.

Canadian factory sales rose 3.5% in March from February, led by the motor vehicle, petroleum and coal, and food product industries, while wholesale trade was up 2.8%, Statistics Canada said.

The price of oil, one of Canada‘s major exports, reversed some of the previous day’s sharp losses as stock markets strengthened, though gains were capped by the coronavirus situation in major oil consumer India and the restart of a fuel pipeline in the United States.

U.S. crude prices rose 1.2% to $64.61 a barrel, while the Canadian dollar was trading 0.6% higher at 1.2093 to the greenback, or 82.69 U.S. cents, moving back in reach of Wednesday’s 6-year peak at 1.2042.

For the week, the loonie was on track to gain 0.3%. It has climbed more than 5% since the start of the year, the biggest gain among G10 currencies, supported by surging commodity prices and a shift last month to a more hawkish stance by the Bank of Canada.

Still, BoC Governor Tiff Macklem said on Thursday if the currency continues to rise, it could create headwinds for exports and business investment as well as affecting monetary policy.

The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of major currencies, pressured by a recovery in risk appetite across markets after Federal Reserve officials helped calm concerns about a quick policy tightening in response to accelerating U.S. inflation.

Canadian government bond yields were lower across much of a flatter curve, with the 10-year down 2 basis points at 1.549%. On Thursday, it touched its highest intraday in eight weeks at 1.624%.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Toronto Stock Exchange rises 1.21% to 19,366.69

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Toronto Stock Exchange

* The Toronto Stock Exchange‘s TSX rises 1.21 percent to 19,366.69

* Leading the index were SNC-Lavalin Group Inc <SNC.TO​>, up 16.0%, Village Farms International Inc​, up 9.8%, and Denison Mines Corp​, higher by 9.4%.

* Lagging shares were Aurora Cannabis Inc​​, down 7.2%, Centerra Gold Inc​, down 3.8%, and Canadian National Railway Co​, lower by 3.7%.

* On the TSX 194 issues rose and 35 fell as a 5.5-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were 25 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 225.7 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Enbridge Inc, Manulife Financial Corp and Cenovus Energy Inc.

* The TSX’s energy group rose 3.32 points, or 2.7%, while the financials sector climbed 4.80 points, or 1.3%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 2.65%, or $1.69, to $65.51 a barrel. Brent crude  rose 2.68%, or $1.8, to $68.85 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 11.1% for the year.

This summary was machine generated May 14 at 21:03 GMT.

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Economy

U.S., Mexico, Canada to hold ‘robust’ talks on trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada will next week hold their first formal talks on their continental trade deal, with particular focus on labor and environmental obligations, the U.S. government said on Friday.

Trade ministers from the three nations are set to meet virtually on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal, which took effect in July 2020.

“The ministers will receive updates about work already underway to advance cooperation … and will hold robust discussions about USMCA’s landmark labor and environmental obligations,” the office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

The United States is also reviewing tariffs which may be leading to inflation in the country, economic adviser Cecilia Rouse told reporters at the White House on Friday, a move that could affect hundreds of billions of dollars in trade.

The United States, testing provisions in the new deal aimed at strengthening Mexican unions, this week asked Mexico to investigate alleged abuses at a General Motors Co factory.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Oatis)

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