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Economic Commentary

Economic Commentary December 2012

It is the end of the year. Another one down and it has gone flying by faster (if that were possible) than last year. The speed at which time is flying by has moved from the sublime into the insane! It seems like only last week that Boney M and tinsel were everywhere and here they are again in a whole new Christmas season. Looking back on the year it has been tumultuous to say the least. On the local front, Marikana has been a Rubicon moment (or a Marikana moment) and that has unleashed a genie that will be with us for years (see the farmworker’s strikes as an entree). An immediate consequence of that has been, in spite of the PR, Gold Fields unbundling (read divesting) as hard business decisions are made based on profit, loss, security of rights and investment returns. Until it can be recognized that there has to be a link between earnings and productivity, this unfortunate entitlement disconnect is likely to continue, aided and abetted by populists, rabble rousers and those with their own specific political agendas, which are often diametrically opposed to those of the factions that they purportedly represent………………

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Economic Commentary November 2012

I trust this finds you exceptionally well as we move into calendar year-end preparations and prepare to repel the Boney M invasion which has already started. (more…)

Economic Commentary October 2012

Top of the morning to you as we go charging into the last quarter of the year. It was but two short weeks ago that the year dawned, brand spanking new, all clean and shiny and full of promise. We are now approaching that stage where the year is looking a little tired – as though it could do with a good lie-down. We, as in South Africa, have certainly not helped matters. Given the rather turgid state of the world economy, one would have thought that strong leadership and a positive attitude towards investment would have been the order of the day. However, the collective “we” seem to have taken two large bore rifles and instead of shooting ourselves in the foot, we seem to have shot ourselves in both feet, repeatedly – and we continue to do so. It truly beggars belief as the net impact (has to be and) is going to be jobs lost, investments to be scaled back/ curtailed and a proportion of the currently employed who are making demands are going to become newly unemployed. One hopes that the newly unemployed will have insight to look at what they did and how the impact of their actions has resulted in the change in their employment status.

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Economic Commentary September 2012

Spring has sprung again! It always adds a (no pun intended) spring to everyone’s step and the world outlook seems to be that much brighter. It is already time again to start planning for the annual Boney M invasion, the silly season and the end of year shut-downs – namely staffing, stock and cash-flow over this period. On another front, I was told that the Tygerberg Zoo has been sold and is shutting down at the end of the year. I was last there in 1997 and it was a vibrant bustling place – in complete contrast to the tragedy I witnessed last week-end when I went again – the whole place has a palpable air of neglect, many cages are empty and overgrown. Whilst I am not a fan of zoos, I believe they have a place and once Tygerberg Zoo closes, there are no more zoos left in the Western Cape. If you are interested/ would like to have a swansong there, there were still tigers, lions, zebra and others – enough to make it interesting for the kids (and their parents). Last chance to see for some.

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Economic Commentary August 2012

I trust this finds you exceptionally well and looking forward to some warmer weather – the year seems to be picking up speed as we head into the home straight – only to do this all again after a short hiatus over December. (more…)

Economic Commentary July 2012

Another month has passed by with lightening speed, albeit glacial resolution of the issues facing the world. As I have mentioned, the decade is going to be challenging and Mr Clem Sunter and his team of scenario planners have forecast a high probability of “hard times”. We are almost half-way through the hard times – only another six years or so to go. 

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Economic Commentary June 2012

I trust this finds you exceptionally well as winter finally takes hold. The old adage of living in interesting times seems to become more apt every month.

Europe. I continue to watch with horrified fascination as the unfolding train-crash takes another month to damage itself. There is, as yet, no resolution, with the problems that are, and have been identified not being decisively dealt with and, ergo, not being fixed. The longer that this wound is allowed to fester, the bigger the mess. It is the considered opinion of Greg Weldon (Weldononline.com) that with regards to Europe: “Spain, Portugal and Italy are severely damaged, and sinking fast and the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Finland and Sweden are hurt, and the pain is worsening.”

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Economic Commentary May 2012

I trust this finds you exceptionally well as the year has really picked up speed and is flying by at a pace that (years ago in my school career in a Friday afternoon Maths class) I would not have imagined possible. The first quarter April (almost December in length) break is now over and it is some five short weeks to the winter solstice.

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Economic Commentary April 2012

I trust this finds you exceptionally well as the year seems to have picked up speed (Easter having come and gone and we are already only two short months away from the winter solstice at which point the winter bus turns around and starts heading into summer). The pace is truly electrifying and April isn’t helped at all by the plethora of holidays.

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Economic Commentary March 2012

I trust this finds you exceptionally well as the year marches on. February, the fiscal year-end and the South African budget speech is already behind us. This is thus an excellent time to strategise, budget, plan and communicate those goals to all stakeholders – ensuring that there is follow-up control exercised and budgets matched to actual. (more…)