SA’s growth forecast low­ered further

Moody’s ex­pects it to de­te­ri­o­rate this year

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - SIPHELELE DLUDLA [email protected]

AS SOUTH Africa awaits the Moody’s credit rat­ing de­ci­sion, the agency yes­ter­day low­ered the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth forecast further, charg­ing that it ex­pected it to de­te­ri­o­rate this year.

In its up­dated re­port on the an­nual sov­er­eign out­look, Moody’s slashed South Africa’s 2020 growth forecast further to -0.6 per­cent from a -0.3 per­cent forecast in February.

Moody’s said that the cor­po­rate sec­tor, in­vest­ment and em­ploy­ment would be neg­a­tively im­pacted by the coron­avirus (Covid-19) pan­demic.

Sarah Carl­son, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent in Moody’s Sov­er­eign Risk Group, said the coun­try would be af­fected by de­clin­ing global growth prospects as the im­pact of Covid-19 spreads.

Carl­son said all emerg­ing mar­kets would grow at rates that were well be­low their po­ten­tial as the shocks of the Covid-19 pan­demic and the sharp fall in oil prices were ex­pos­ing sov­er­eigns’ vul­ner­a­bil­ity along each of the credit chan­nels.

“They will lower gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) growth and fis­cal strength, deepen weaker sov­er­eigns’ vul­ner­a­bil­ity to shifts in in­vestor sen­ti­ment, and ex­pose wider weak­nesses in do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions,” Carl­son said.

“The rapid spread of the coron­avirus out­break and sharply lower oil and as­set prices have sig­nif­i­cantly weak­ened the global eco­nomic out­look and are cre­at­ing a se­vere and ex­ten­sive credit shock across many sec­tors, re­gions and mar­kets.”

Moody’s, the only rat­ings agency that still has South Africa’s credit rat­ing one notch above sub-in­vest­ment grade, is sched­uled to an­nounce its pe­ri­odic re­view of South Africa’s sov­er­eign credit rat­ing on Fri­day.

The In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Finance (IIF) was not as modest as Moody’s in cut­ting South Africa’s growth forecast. The IIF said the coun­try’s econ­omy will con­tract a sig­nif­i­cant 2.5 per­cent this year as the world econ­omy en­tered a re­ces­sion, with global growth in 2020 cut from 2.6 to 1.6 per­cent.

“South Africa en­tered 2020 with an over­val­ued cur­rency, a per­sis­tent cur­rent ac­count deficit and anaemic growth. A deep down­turn is the likely re­sult in 2020, given the sharp sud­den stop in emerg­ing mar­ket in­flows,” it said. “Un­der­ly­ing all th­ese fore­casts is pro­found un­cer­tainty as to how vir­u­lent the Covid-19 pan­demic will be in emerg­ing mar­kets. Large ur­ban cen­tres and lim­ited test­ing are ma­te­rial down­side risks.”

Last week, the SA Re­serve Bank (SARB) marked down its global growth forecast to 1.1 per­cent and do­mes­tic growth to 0.2 per­cent for 2020.

SARB said the global eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial con­di­tions were ex­pected to re­main highly volatile for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

Covid-19 has in­fected more than 350 000 peo­ple and re­sulted in more than 15 000 deaths world­wide and col­lapsed fi­nan­cial mar­kets amid risk sell-offs. South Africa has recorded more than 400 pos­i­tive cases of Covid19 in two weeks.

NKC African Eco­nomics yes­ter­day said that the global econ­omy was forecast to slow to 0 per­cent growth this year after more coun­tries an­nounced dra­co­nian pol­icy measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.

NKC said this GDP con­trac­tion meant that the global econ­omy was set to shrink by 2 per­cent on a quar­terly ba­sis in the first quar­ter, and 0.4 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter, well past the GDP per capita con­trac­tion def­i­ni­tion of a global re­ces­sion.

“We now see global growth con­tract­ing in quar­ter one at a faster pace than dur­ing the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis,” it said.

“Global growth is likely to av­er­age just 0 per­cent in 2020, down from 2.5 per­cent in Jan­uary, mak­ing this our largest two-month forecast re­vi­sion ever. The speed and scale of the falls in GDP across so many coun­tries will make the first half of 2020 look very much like the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.”

PUN­TERS, even the shrewdest of them all, do not hide the fact they dis­like wa­ger­ing their hard-earned money when rac­ing is at the mercy of work rid­ers.

Many be­lieve the form sel­dom works out and that an out­sider will un­doubt­edly send their tick­ets to the trash can.

How­ever, sta­tis­tics prove that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the most re­cent work rid­ers' meet­ing – held at the Vaal on 23 Jan­uary – the jock­eys aboard favourites steered six of the eight horses who topped the bet­ting boards to vic­tory.

In­ter­est­ingly, there were only two favourites tri­umphant on the 10-race card for pro­fes­sional jock­eys at Turf­fontein on 19 March. The re­sults are ob­vi­ously not al­ways that bad for the pro­fes­sion­als, but this just goes to show you can trust work rid­ers to make you a profit.


“We are pro­fes­sional jock­eys in our own right,” said former Work Rid­ers’ Chal­lenge win­ner Chamu Mabaya.

The Work Rid­ers’ Chal­lenge is raced over three meet­ings, with R5 000 go­ing to the win­ning rider at each meet­ing. A prize of R20 000 is awarded to the rider who tops the log after all three meet­ings.

The Work Rid­ers’ Chal­lenge was the brain­child of former champion jockey James Ma­ree. He or­gan­ised the first work rid­ers’ race in 1985, won by Piet Nh­lapo.

“The idea for the Work Rid­ers’ Train­ing Pro­gramme came after real­is­ing that own­ers pay mil­lions of rands for horses,” ex­plained Ma­ree.

“Whether it’s in a race or at work – no owner wants a bloke who doesn’t know what they’re do­ing on their horse. This was un­for­tu­nately the case in the past so, I knew some­thing needed to be done to help.”

Ma­ree be­lieves horse rac­ing has no choice but to af­ford work rid­ers’ a skills de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

“If this is not done, rac­ing will fall apart,” he added. Be­cause jock­eys ride ev­ery day, they can’t work horses in the morn­ings. This means train­ers de­pend on work rid­ers to do the job.

The suc­cess of this ini­tia­tive is re­flected by the fact a work rider like Mabaya is trusted to work valu­able horses like Hawwaam for Mike de Kock.

“Get­ting the pro­gramme up and run­ning wasn’t easy,” ad­mit­ted Ma­ree.

“No one was keen at first, but we even­tu­ally got support from Mary Slack, the Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, Phumelela and the Rac­ing Trust.”

It was set up in 1999 by the Rac­ing Trust, which still man­ages it.

“We wel­come rid­ers from all the cen­tres, rec­om­mended by train­ers.

“They go through a four-month pro­gramme, cov­er­ing ba­sic work rid­ing and pace work.”

Once the team have con­fi­dence in the rider's abil­ity and deem him el­i­gi­ble to com­pete, they’re put in a race up the straight.

Then comes an ad­vanced course, after which grad­u­ates are al­lowed to ride around the turn.

Ma­ree re­vealed the rea­son he wanted this to be a suc­cess is be­cause he sees him­self in th­ese work rid­ers.

“I come from a sim­i­lar back­ground. I grew up in a poor house­hold so I re­late.

“Peo­ple forget you need both finance and ed­u­ca­tion to get into the Jockey Academy. This means more than 95% of the un­der­priv­i­leged in this coun­try have no chance of mak­ing it into the sport.

“This may sur­prise a few, but one suc­cess­ful work rider can feed as many as ten fam­i­lies. Just one.”

Some work rid­ers – like Lyle He­wit­son and Calvin Habib – have gone on to be very suc­cess­ful jock­eys, even over­seas.


“They are some of the most dedicated and com­mit­ted peo­ple. Rain or snow, they’re up at 4am ev­ery­day happy to work horses,” said Ma­ree.

“I have been in rac­ing for 60 years and gave up train­ing be­cause the in­for­ma­tion I can share is worth more than money. This is my pas­sion and they (work rid­ers) are equally pas­sion­ate about rid­ing.”

As far as con­vinc­ing pun­ters to back work rid­ers, his re­sponse was: “Any­body can ride a horse, but very few are com­pe­tent, and horses can sense it.

“To be hon­est, I would not mind putting my money on a work rider – even if it was against some of the pro­fes­sional jock­eys. Rid­ers like Sa­muel Mosia and Fran­cis Simela un­der­stand rac­ing and have a good seat and bal­ance.

“If the horse they are on is healthy and has good form, then I would be will­ing to back them.

“You need to also un­der­stand that work rid­ers only ride maidens, many of whom have poor form.

Just to prove th­ese blokes are good for rac­ing – if you think about it – a lot of th­ese horses would not see the races if there were no work rid­ers.”

JAC­QUES NAUDE African News Agency (ANA)

CEN­TU­RION Mall in Pretoria is qui­eter than usual as peo­ple avoid pub­lic spaces be­cause of the coron­avirus, which is hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact on the cor­po­rate sec­tor, in­vest­ment and em­ploy­ment world­wide. |

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