The quarter ending 31st August 2017 has seen a recovery in the South African All Share Index and this is despite the local political turbulence. During this period, we have seen some of our shares recover even in this low growth environment. As a result of the ANC in-fighting, as well as character assassination across all political parties, the focus of the media on a daily basis is the persistence of political divisions within our country. This political status quo is likely to remain for the foreseeable future as the Presidency race heats up. This coupled with the recent mutterings of our Finance Minister, to use profitable State owned entities to prop up the debt ridden non-performing State owned enterprises, such as Eskom, should be viewed with concern as this would mean that ratings agencies would once again focus on our credit ratings.
The Rand continued to retain its relative strength despite the local political head winds, propped up by foreign investment looking for yields in our bond market in order to achieve income returns, as developed markets have seen low interest rates for an extended period.
On the International front, political turmoil continues to dominate the headlines. Theresa May, in her attempt to call an early election resulted in a spectacular own goal and a hung parliament, significantly weakening her power base and as a result, the Brexit issues are likely to continue to linger for the foreseeable future with very little or no concise outcome.
In the United States, Trump’s sensationalism and more recently hostile engagement with North Korea will be a focus in the short term, particularly given North Korea’s continued testing of nuclear weapons.
Notwithstanding all of the above political concerns, markets remained fairly robust up until the end of August.
In terms of commodities, the oil price has come under pressure throughout the year, as a result of strong inventory levels in the United States and a pickup in production has kept prices subdued globally. Other resources have come back into vogue which has benefited resource backed economies of which South Africa is one.
It is with deep regret that we must inform you of the passing of Thelma, our wonderful Receptionist. Thelma’s passing was sudden and we would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to her extended family and in particular her daughter.