Aug 08

Sporting Chance

Walking around Cape Town’s Waterfront at the moment is a little like a stroll through the shopping malls of Bombay or is that Mumbai, I think that shows my age!

Yes, the rich and infamous from the Indian subcontinent have arrived enmasse and are spending up a storm. The One and Only, Sol Kerzner, hotelier to Bollywood, has taken it all to heart and has even learnt how to bowl a maiden over, that is of course if she is under 25.

Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze is doing a roaring trade in Chicken Tikka and he has even been heard shouting F*@#, at the top of his voice, no it stands for FOUR silly.

Yes, cricket has bought a nice little fill up to South Africa as we slide inexorably into winter and whoever bought the 20 / 20 here certainly had good eyesight!

In fact sport itself will be a backbone for South Africa over the next year. The cricket will be just ending as the Confederation Cup starts and at the same time we will be enjoying the Lions Tour. Later in the year it’s a touring England side, again in the cricket arena, and at that same time the real build up to the main event of 2010, The FIFA World Cup, will begin. I can hardly wait and I am going to be using up about three years of leave in only twelve months.

These enjoyable and yet economically helpful events should carry us through to the second half of 2010 and that may just be the time to witness those, classically discussed, green shoots of recovery.

The economic woes of the world are now seemingly in a clearer state. That does not mean they are over, but they are definitely more recognizable.

Economies are shrinking, the Euro zone for example now predicting a 4% shrinkage in 2009, twice that originally envisaged, but many of the causes are already in the system and being addressed. Unemployment will continue to rise, unfortunately, especially when at present it sits at 24% of South Africa’s working population. But unemployment and property price slides are usually lag indicators of damage already done.

Stock markets have rallied, to some extent, especially in the US and here in SA a clear band of 18,000 – 22,000 locks in the All Share index. It is now seemingly scared of going under 18,000 and allergic to breaking 22,000 but at least it is now in a range and doing its best to show a pulse!

So friends we may have seen the worst in stock values (he pauses for a short prayer!) which is good for our pensions, but property will continue to fall.

Mr Zuma is our new main man and the first 100 hours (forget days, it’s Africa) have passed without any major incident. The world is looking elsewhere and worried about its own issues and infection rates. South Africa could therefore just come through all of this in better shape than we feared, and probably with a sporting chance!

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