ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Please read our latest newsletters.

10 May 2022

Do not panic, buy the dip!

We ended April anticipating the announcement from the United States (US) Federal Reserve (Fed). Because of all of the uncertainty, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite contracted 13.3% in April, its worst monthly drop since the global financial crisis in 2008. Even the broader benchmark index, the S&P 500, had its worst month since the pandemic erupted in 2020.

5 May 2022

A roller-coaster month across the globe

The past month has been a wild one! The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite, a stock market index that includes almost all of the stocks listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the United States (US), contracted 13.3% in April. This was its worst monthly drop since the global financial crisis in 2008.

20 April 2022

Floods, house prices, and inflation

Following the severe floods in KwaZulu-Natal, many companies have suspended their operations to recover and to restore damaged equipment and infrastructure. Container depots, terminals, and warehouses that have been damaged will likely further constrain local supply chains.

13 April 2022

Recession… so what?

In the past week uncertainty caused volatility in global stock markets to drag on. Uncertainty about war,
commodity prices, inflation, interest rate increases, lockdowns in China, global economic growth, and the likes, are all keeping investors, and the markets that they represent, both nervous and restless.

6 April 2022

The end of easy monetary policy

In global markets: This past month has been all about the war in the Ukraine and its impact on the global economy. The war has almost caused investors to forget about the long-term shift in monetary policy that finally started when the United States (US) Federal Reserve (Fed) increased its interest rates.

29 March 2022

Higher interest rates in South Africa

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has, again, increased interest rates by 0.25%. This is the third
increase since December 2021, bringing the repurchase, or policy, rate that the SARB offers banks up to
4.25%.

23 March 2022

Is there a recession on the horizon?

Between all the headlines of war, interest rate hikes, volatile markets, and the concerns emanating from
these, theories about an upcoming recession are becoming ever-more frequent.

15 March 2022

What to expect from fuel prices in South Africa

As the war in the Ukraine continues, you might have heard some rumours about fuel prices in South Africa
(SA). Some commentators that I would not refer to as experts even believe that fuel prices can reach R40 a
litre. Although nothing is impossible, I doubt this has much more than a 10% probability of occurring.

1 March 2022

Russia, the Ukraine, and South Africa’s Budget

During February, market uncertainty peaked, and this caused volatility to erupt. After a lot of
negotiations, media staging, propaganda, and hard sanctions, Russia invaded the Ukraine.

22 February 2022

Cryptocurrencies, an alternative asset class

As market, economic, and finance experts, we often get asked questions about investing in alternative assets,
from property to cryptocurrencies. Because these assets fall outside of the scope of many of the regulatory
bodies of traditional finance in South Africa (SA), we can, at best, use our expertise to inform and to educate
clients; we cannot give advice.

15 February 2022

A pro-business State of the Nation Address: How President Ramaphosa's economy can once again flourish

In his latest State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ramaphosa, once again, delivered a pro-business message. He explained that: “The key task of government is to create the conditions that will enable the private sector to emerge, to grow, to access new markets, to create new products, and to hire more employees”.

8 February 2022

Market volatility and economic activity

We all knew that markets would be volatile this year, but I doubt that many thought that they would see something like the 26% single-day fall in the share price of Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

1 February 2022

Don’t worry, be happy

January usually starts with a lot of ‘hopium’, that is, irrational optimism. Consumers come back from holiday, well rested and ready for the new year. A new year full of new opportunities: #newyearnewyou, #2022, and #thisismyyear fill reels on Twitter and Instagram.

26 January 2022

If not into equities, where will all the money go?

Most investors in South Africa (SA) have more exposure to the South African equity market than to any other global market. This unfortunate strategy has cost them much in terms of returns over the long term but will continue to benefit them in the short term.

19 January 2022

A wonderful new year, the rand, and the markets

And so, the new year is upon us! Because we always get the same questions at the beginning of each year, I thought I would use this year’s first newsletter to introduce you to the main themes that we are considering and to provide you with some forecasts.

8 December 2021

Fortunately for us

At the end of 2021, we find ourselves at the tipping point in terms of global macroeconomics. For more than a decade, most of the world’s largest economies have been running an (unsustainable) monetary experiment, keeping interest rates at historic lows, and forcing liquidity into the system with tools such as quantitative easing (QE).

30 November 2021

Interest rates in South Africa

Little over a week ago, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) decided to increase interest rates by 0.25%, as we expected they would. With a slight 3-2 majority, the Monetary Policy Committee voted in favour of an increase rather than to keep the rates unchanged. Markets seemed unhappy with the news and the rand faltered.

16 November 2021

Inflation and reforms

And then, it finally happened… Inflation in the developed world erupted. Germany’s inflation came in at 4.5% in October, whereas inflation in the United States (US) rocketed to a 30-year-high of 6.2%. In the United Kingdom (UK), the Bank of England warned consumers that inflation could breach 5% in 2022.

9 November 2021

Load shedding, pills, and jobs

A few years back we set out to estimate the economic cost of load shedding in South Africa (SA). Because our focus was purely on the economic side, we excluded the social costs associated with load shedding, which would, of course, have inflated our findings.

3 November 2021

Spending, taxes, and volatility

Democrats in the United States (US) will do what Democrats do, that is, spend more (mostly on the “not rich”) and tax more (mostly on the “rich”). In the past, we discussed the proposed $1.75 trillion infrastructure plans that President Joe Biden has, as a clever way of increasing the long-term returns (gross domestic product (GDP) growth) of the US economy.

26 October 2021

Pandemic stimulus and interest rates

Recently published research showed that pandemic stimulus failed in emerging markets. Among the top emerging and developed economies, there is no correlation between the stimulus programmes of 2020 and the strength of the ensuing recovery. The disconnect was, however, the largest among emerging markets.

19 October 2021

Markets calm down as Bitcoin starts to surge

Last week, markets were concerned about the persistent nature of higher-than-expected inflation, its implications for tighter monetary policy, and the eventual negative impact of tighter monetary policy on financial markets.

12 October 2021

The United States economy and global energy prices

Given the recent deceleration in COVID-19 cases and the pickup in activity indicators, we believe that the United States (US) Federal Reserve (Fed) will follow through with their planned taper announcement at the upcoming policy meeting in November.

6 October 2021

September economics

Something we try to do as economists is to observe and to report on shifts in long-term trends. This is
an important task because it can help individuals and businesses to make better long-term decisions.

21 September 2021

Economic activity and the Fed’s pending decision

Last week’s economic activity data reinforced our feeling that gross domestic product (GDP) growth in South Africa (SA) will remain subdued, and that we are still some distance away from pre-pandemic levels.

14 September 2021

How South Africa can get out of the poverty trap

Last week, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on South Africa’s (SA’s) second quarter gross domestic product (GDP). We were glad to see that GDP growth came in better than expected.

7 September 2021

As the world slows down, the rand strengthens

More and more data from major economies in the Northern Hemisphere is showing that economic recoveries have started to lose steam. This is evident from both survey and hard-activity data that were released during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer break. 

1 September 2021

August Economics

Markets in the United States (US) continued to reach new all-time highs in August. In fact, US equity valuations are now nearly as high as they were just before the dot-com meltdown. However, this by no means implies that we are heading in the same direction. 

24 August 2021

South Africa’s Fiscal Multiplier

During the past week or so, there has been considerable talk about South Africa’s (SA’s) fiscal multiplier, a ratio that illustrates by how much output rises for each level of government spending.

17 August 2021

More positive indicators and local policy amendments

Last week another collection of positive economic indicators emerged from the United States (US). Many more experts have, therefore, voiced the opinion that the US Federal Reserve (Fed) might start to curb their monetary support by the end of 2021.

11 August 2021

Goldilocks growth and a new cabinet

The United States’ (US) second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was disappointing, coming in at 6.5% instead of the expected 8.5%. However, the US has in fact now recovered from its largest peak-to-trough fall in output on record.

3 August 2021

July economics Chinese regulations and inflation

In a recent newsletter, I briefly mentioned our concern around regulatory uncertainty in
China. In July, however, this became one of our main themes after the MSCI China, a broad
index that tracks the Chinese equity market, fell by 18.8%.

27 July 2021

The latest economic news from the United States and South Africa

In the United States (US), inflation, once again, surprised to the upside. Compared to June 2020, headline inflation increased to 5.4% in June 2021, up from May’s 5.0%. 

20 July 2021

A subjective view of South Africa’s long-term trajectory

How you interpret the world around you and, subsequently, forecast what may be, is based on your worldview. Your worldview is, to a large extent, shaped by your external environment (experiences and exposure) and your internal thoughts and emotions

13 July 2021

What a world we live in: falling oil prices and spending less time working

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with their new ally, Russia, have, once again, been unable to reach an agreement about global oil supply.

6 July 2021

International tax, interesting stories, and some jail time

Last week officials from 130 countries, representing 90% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), met virtually to agree on the broad outlines of what would be the most sweeping change in international taxation in a century.

29 June 2021

June Economics

During June, the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations in the United States (US) continued. A $1.2 trillion plan initially emerged from the two parties, which set out additional infrastructure spending close to $600 billion.

22 June 2021

US interest rates and some more good news locally

Last week United States (US) markets closed the week in negative territory: the Dow Jones fell 1.6%, the S&P 500 lost 1.3%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.9%.

15 June 2021

Inflation, TV gaming, and growth

Press reports seem to suggest that United States (US) senators have reached some kind of a bipartisan agreement about President Jo Biden’s infrastructure proposal. 

8 June 2021

The true story about unemployment in South Africa

This week we look at the newly released unemployment statistics for South Africa and how they show the cost of having an ineffective government.

1 June 2021

May economics

The month of May was as volatile as we expected it to be. We look at some of the events that influenced all types of markets.

25 May 2021

Less and more accommodation

While the US is talking about reducing accommodative monetary policy, interest rates in SA remain
unchanged. What does this mean for the markets?

18 May 2021

This week we look at the recent spike in the COVID-19 infection rate and how this has affected markets.

Last week we discussed how the US economy compounded its way to greatness. This week we focuson some of the latest economic and corporate figures to see what they tell us about the US and China
recovery.

11 May 2021

Less accommodative and more good news

The United States posted some surprising job figures and South Africa seems to be cleaning house. This week we look at what this means for the markets.

5 May 2021

April for America

April showcased everything that is great about the United States.

20 April 2021

“Never bet against the US economy” – Warren Buffett

Last week we discussed how the US economy compounded its way to greatness. This week we focuson some of the latest economic and corporate figures to see what they tell us about the US and China
recovery.

13 April 2021

An ode to America: the greatest country in the world?

This week we look at the American economy and how it has compounded its way to greatness.

7 April 2021

March economics: some nasties and some not

The month of March started with a few unwanted surprises. We discuss the impact of these on the
markets.

30 March 2021

European capex and local interest rates

This week we discuss European capex and what this might mean for the markets.

24 March 2021

Us Economic Success And Turkish Presidential Failings

Our main story this week is the recent announcement by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the United States Federal Reserve, Fed for short.

9 March 2021

The world around us and the concerns over inflation

This week we look at seemingly separate events around the world that are assimilating into inflationary
concerns.

2 March 2021

February Economics – The Budget and its implications for transformational change

Tito delivered his budget speech in the last week of February. We are optimistic about what it seems to mean for transformational change in South Africa.

23 February 2021

The pillars of hope that enforce transformational change

Economic-related forecasts are almost impossible. But this week we aim to provide you with our best
attempts!

16 February 2021

Government’s lack of integrity and some numbers

In this week’s newsletter we discuss the SONA and focus on the breakdown in integrity of the South African government. We also explain how each citizen contributes to this breakdown. We
end with some important economic numbers.

9 February 2021

What to expect from petrol prices in 2021

I have not discussed petrol prices in a while, so I thought I would give you an update on what you can expect from oil prices in 2021. Hopefully, this will help you plan for the year ahead.

2 February 2021

January Economics

Considering how long it took for 2020 to finally come to an end, it seems like the first month of 2021 was over in the blink of an eye. Many interesting things happened, here are just a few highlights.

26 January 2021

Stiff-necked Americans and modern inflation​

This week we discuss how the US missed out on a unique transformational opportunity to make America great again, and how inflation creeps up on you.

19 January 2021

Is your house in order?

This week we look at the impact a good wave or bad storm can have on the economy.

12 January 2021

Welcome to 2021

We start the new year by discussing a couple of world events that impacted the markets in December.