‘It’s early days to tell if KZN will gain from de­feat’

Sunday Tribune - - PROPERTY360 - LUYOLO MKENTANE

ECON­O­MISTS said it was too early to say whether the Kwazulu-natal (KZN) econ­omy would ben­e­fit from US Pres­i­dent Donald Trump’s weak­ened hand fol­low­ing the US mid-term elec­tions this week.

Trump emerged a weak­ened leader af­ter the Democrats won con­trol of the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from his con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can Party.

The de­feat was in­ter­preted as hav­ing the po­ten­tial to cur­tail Trump’s puni­tive trade and tar­iffs agenda.

Global po­lit­i­cal volatil­ity af­fects the eco­nomic well­be­ing of KZN.

The province is home to the Dur­ban Har­bour, the largest and busiest ship­ping ter­mi­nal in sub­sa­ha­ran Africa, han­dling 65 per­cent of the to­tal con­tainer­ised cargo of South Africa or 31.4 mil­lion tons of cargo each year.

Del­e­gates at­tend­ing the Kwazulu-natal Ex­port Week last month high­lighted the need for the province to be po­si­tioned as the gate­way to Africa and the world.

Ef­fi­cient Group chief ex­ec­u­tive Dawie Roodt said po­lit­i­cally the US mid-term elec­tion results were good for South Africa.

“But in terms of the econ­omy they are bad for the coun­try. We need a stronger Amer­i­can econ­omy so that they can con­tinue to buy stuff from us,” Roodt said.

“What you now have is Trump los­ing po­lit­i­cally. The elec­tion results have made him a weaker pres­i­dent, which will trans­late into a weaker dol­lar and a weaker econ­omy.”

Roodt said over­all, the world econ­omy was go­ing to be a lit­tle bit worse off than be­fore as a re­sult.

Econ­o­mists.co.za chief econ­o­mist Mike Schus­sler said it was dif­fi­cult to say whether the pro­vin­cial econ­omy would ben­e­fit.

“Amer­ica is the largest econ­omy in the world and in that sense it ob­vi­ously means that as it grows there will be a big­ger de­mand for our prod­ucts such as coal and gold.

“This also means that more tourists will be vis­it­ing South Africa for sure. But as to how the elec­tion results will ben­e­fit KZN per se, it’s dif­fi­cult to say.”

SA In­sti­tute of Race Re­la­tions chief econ­o­mist Ian Cruick­shanks said it was too soon to tell whether the province’s econ­omy would ben­e­fit from a weak­ened Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It’s hard to say whether it’s go­ing to make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence. In fact, I don’t see how po­lit­i­cal im­bal­ances in the US are go­ing to have any pos­i­tive spin-offs for the emerg­ing mar­kets,” said Cruick­shanks.

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