Does the Gordhan correction undo the damage wrought by Nene’s axing?

You might be surprised at how carefully some people who’ve never set foot on these shores, people who are mostly blindingly clever at maths and informed to a scarily deep level about our politics and history and whose job includes trading our currency and bonds, have asked me that headline question in the last week.Continue reading “Does the Gordhan correction undo the damage wrought by Nene’s axing?”

‘Tis reasonable to hope this might be the season to be (faintly) jolly

For those who were tortured by my somnolently incoherent post last night, here is the follow up. Hopefully a little clearer. The flip-flops around the Minister of Finance leave Jacob Zuma looking weak and vulnerable. There are grounds to begin questioning whether he will see out his full term. The appointment of Pravin Gordhan isContinue reading “‘Tis reasonable to hope this might be the season to be (faintly) jolly”

Overreach – how generals, tyrants and puffed up fools implode

Business Day  this morning published an article suggesting that Nhlanhla Nene was on the verge of being shuffled out of his Minister of Finance position to some face-saving backwater. I wrote early last week in a client note: “It is widely held that the National Treasury and Minister Nhlanhla Nene have come under hostile pressure forContinue reading “Overreach – how generals, tyrants and puffed up fools implode”

Now is the winter of our discontent …

… which I entirely doubt will be made glorious summer by this sun of KZN when he gives his 5th nth State of the Nation Address this evening. I am not, as my children might have said, very amped for this. The only ray of light so far (I am watching on eNCA) was a brief interview with FloydContinue reading “Now is the winter of our discontent …”

The very fat goose, the socialists* party, all Zuma’s bets are on the NDP, mining companies show some fang and much much more

I am on my way to London to speak to the funds that buy and sell South Africa’s corporate and government bonds i.e. the market that sets the price at which the world is prepared to lend us money. Daily I become more convinced that the South African political economy is, like quick clay “so unstableContinue reading “The very fat goose, the socialists* party, all Zuma’s bets are on the NDP, mining companies show some fang and much much more”

Outlook 2014 – and other messages from the future

I have been agonising over whether to keep this website going –  or to consign it to the wastelands of the interwebs there to wander mournfully, accumulating lurid advertisements for secret ways of getting rid of belly fat and invitations from young, beautiful and lonely people, in your area, waiting by their phones for a call from you. AfterContinue reading “Outlook 2014 – and other messages from the future”

Gordhan (the good, the bad and the ugly), DA succession, Cosatu split looking more likely, Zuma’s delightful gaffes … and much more

As promised some comments on the politics of Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget … but first forgive me for expressing some of my irritation at two of his (Gordhan’s)  recent statements. That will be followed by some of  the bits and pieces I found interesting in the weekly newspapers – if you didn’t see the ‘Zuma gaffes”Continue reading “Gordhan (the good, the bad and the ugly), DA succession, Cosatu split looking more likely, Zuma’s delightful gaffes … and much more”

SA political risks for investors

I was looking for a shorthand way of summarising what I thought were the main political risks that are in the minds of investors in South African financial markets. Note that the emphasis here (in what appears below) is what I think is an appropriate prism for investors in financial markets, and specifically those withContinue reading “SA political risks for investors”

Political risk and the weeklies

Sunday’s newspapers were more interesting from a political risk and investment point of views than normal. This is what I thought mattered, as far as financial markets were concerned, in last week’s Mail & Guardian, the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and City Press: Construction industry – possible prosecution and fines for fraud and racketeering GovernmentContinue reading “Political risk and the weeklies”

Greeting – and a few thoughts of home – from Belgrade

I am in Serbia on a social visit and I thought I would record here some of my initial observations about stuff we might learn from this country about some aspects of SA politics and culture. Cultural Betrayal Firstly, I am in Belgrade – a city of 1.6 million people built on the confluence ofContinue reading “Greeting – and a few thoughts of home – from Belgrade”

Therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for free

I think the e-tolling saga is important precisely because my headline bastardising the denouement of John Donne’s famous poem is, in truth, wrong. Gauteng’s road upgrade does not come for free. The R20bn was borrowed by Sanral and lent by people and institutions (which) who assessed the risk attached to repayment on the basis that e-tolling wasContinue reading “Therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for free”

Complex, unstable and unpredictable

We are the ape with the pattern recognition dial cranked up high and this has served us well over our evolutionary history. But when we assess risk in systems as complex as the global economy our instinctive wariness at the sudden silence in the Palaeolithic forest is not necessarily useful – and might be partContinue reading “Complex, unstable and unpredictable”