The new normal
WHAT A YEAR it is turning out to be. Markets are just as volatile as they have been for the past few and we don’t seem to be getting any closer to normality.
Once again, in this issue we explore some of the factors that have been affecting the markets. In his feature, Stephen Gunnion asks what the prospect of an imminent hike in US interest rates means. After years of ultra-loose monetary policy, could this be the catalyst that ends the bull market?
Not all shares are trading on a steroid high. Marc Hasenfuss spots the value in one of these lesser lights on the JSE.
One feels that until there’s a normal monetary policy environment, volatility will continue to dominate all things related to investment.
The big four banks — Standard Bank, First-Rand, Nedbank and Barclays Africa Group — have all released their numbers in the first quarter of this year, and we take a closer look at the blue bank and its journey towards reclaiming its status as the premier South African and African bank. Gillian Jones writes this month’s cover story on the bank and tracks how far it has come in refocusing its energies on its domestic market and the African continent after unprofitable adventures into countries such as Russia.
Her piece coincides with this week’s Financial Mail cover story on Barclays Africa, whose CEO, Maria Ramos, is more bullish on that bank’s prospects in both SA and the 13 other African countries where it operates.
Andile Makholwa had an interesting interview with Clover’s CEO on the future of the milk producer as it looks to further diversify its portfolio of products and expand in Africa. Listed since 2010, the company’s shares have gained just under 90%.
We have an African focus in this month’s magazine, which I hope will become a regular feature. We take a look at close neighbours Zambia and Zimbabwe. The low copper price poses some hard questions for the Zambian economy in much the same way as it has for Chile’s economy in Latin America.
We look at the health of Zimbabwe’s banking sector, especially as consumers prefer keeping their savings with foreign banks rather than local operations. With the imminent return of the Zimbabwe dollar, this will be an interesting space to monitor.
Most of our regular features return as well as one of my favourite columnists, Thabi Leoka. In place of Nicky Smith’s column this month is a piece by long-time investor Paul Liquorish, one of the few remaining gold followers. He takes a look at Africa’s biggest gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti. The introduction to the piece says it all…