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What will happen with the Rand?

I love to read all the economists’ predictions as to which way the Rand is going.  Every company seems to have a different perspective and they don’t seem to get it right that often.  I saw a publication from the biggest bank in America – JPMorgan -- and in it they say that they maintain fundamentally bearish about our currency. 

They predict that in December this year it will be about R15,20 to the Dollar, weakening to R15,70 by March 2020, R16,20 in June 2020 and R16,50 by September 2020.  They say that the Rand is not overvalued anymore, meaning that they think it is pretty much at its fair value now, although some of us might like it to be stronger, but their worry is that it does not fully price in the negative ratings or portfolio outlook, such as the one we are all expecting from Moody’s in December.  They indicate in their newsletter that they have entered into a short – in other words, they have taken a bet that the Rand will continue to weaken and are going to make money if the Rand does weaken.  They have taken a similar bet against the Russian currency where it is currently 64 Rubles to US$1.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 17-Dec-19   |  Permalink   |  34 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Tourism figures down

It was interesting to read that our tourism figures are down at the moment.  The number of families arriving in South Africa during July was 5% down on July 2018.  The figures also indicate that South Africans are travelling less overseas.  It is easy to understand why South Africans are travelling less overseas if one looks at the Rand over the last year.  A declining Rand has made it much more expensive for South Africans to travel overseas.

On the other side though it should have made it a lot cheaper for people from other countries to visit South Africa and it has not.  I think that is obviously to do with some of the footage that one sees coming out of South Africa including the xenophobia attacks, strikes and people running through the streets of Johannesburg throwing all sorts of things at police.  In other words, there is a perception overseas that South Africa is rather violent and has too much crime.  That is true, although that is not really true of the areas that tourists largely go to if one look at for example the Durban beachfront, Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Sun City, etc, which are all reasonably safe destinations if you don’t stray from the beaten path.  South Africa is a spectacularly beautiful country and tourism really should be one of the cornerstones of our economy, so the government really needs to look at this aspect and see how we can promote South African tourism.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 12-Dec-19   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
SASRIA riot cover increases

SASRIA is a state-owned entity that provides insurance for people who obviously pay for it, against damage caused by political riots as well as terrorism, strikes and public disorder.  For many years the Fund was not really paying out much money and the rates were quite low.  I just received a notification that the minimum monthly premium will be increased from R5,00 to R50,00 and the annual premium, for those who pay annually, will increase from a minimum of R50,00 to R500,00.  It is obviously very affordable, but it is still an increase of 10 times.  The reason for that is the huge number of protests in South Africa over the last 5 years.

SASRIA says that in the 2018/2019 financial year there was 5,000 claims compared to 3,000 claims the year before that.  In the first 5 months of the 2018/2019 financial year 2,000 new claims were registered for totalling an estimated value of R1 billion.  This is because of the increasing number of protests in South Africa and “the severity of claims resulting from such protests.” 

People obviously have a right to strike and to be heard, but again, the violence that goes with it is completely unacceptable and businesses increasingly must put in claims for damage done to them.  I will not go into the effect that this has on people watching the country from outside and deciding whether to invest or not, because I think you all know exactly what impact it has on them.  It is just one more increasing cost of doing business in South Africa and we need to start tackling these issues.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 09-Dec-19   |  Permalink   |  25 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Zantac - a risk

There is seldom a day that goes by without some product somewhere being declared a risk in one way or another.  This one hit me a little bit more than most because I have taken lots of Zantac in my life.  Zantac works by reducing the amount of acid that your stomach produces, and it is used to treat and prevent ulcers.  I took quite a bit of the medicine over the years and was quite shocked to read recently about the carcinogenic fears associated with Zantac.  In fact, the concerns are so serious that numerous pharmacies around America have taken the brand off their shelves and Canada has ordered a halt to all distribution of Zantac while it investigates.  On 13 September the FDA said they found low levels of a cancer-causing contaminant in the heartburn medications.  The contaminant is a type of nitrosamine that can cause tumours in the liver and other organs in lab animals and are believed to be carcinogenic in us humans. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 02-Dec-19   |  Permalink   |  38 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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