An apartheid beneficiary’s guide to the budget

Who is an apartheid beneficiary? Anyone who was classified “white” under apartheid benefited from the system. Do we include their children almost two decades after apartheid was officially abolished? The answer must be yes. It is the moral stance. (German youth were faced with a similar dilemma. It took time. The first generation after World…

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Measuring fear

Last week’s post looked at consumer confidence. This week, we’ll look at a confidence measure of a much more specialised nature. But first, here’s a little background. In October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, stock markets around the world tumbled as nervous investors ran towards the exits. But not everyone ran. Legendary…

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The outlook for retail spending

Last week’s post looked at consumer confidence. This week we’ll look at the retail sector. The retail sector consists of the businesses and individuals selling finished goods to you and me, the consumers. The sector is hugely important to the South African economy, a source of employment for scores of South Africans, tax revenues for…

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Measuring consumer confidence

Last week’s post explained how to interpret economic indicators using gross domestic product as an example. This week, we’ll examine consumer confidence measures. Who are the biggest spenders in South Africa? Want to guess government? You’d be wrong. How about business? Wrong again. The correct answer is us. It’s not even close. South African household…

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How to use economic indicators

Last week’s post introduced the concept of economic indicators and why you should pay attention to them. This week’s post explains how to actually use them. As a general rule, with most indicators, you must look for four things: movement, magnitude, trends and context. Each of these tells you something interesting, but you only get…

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Did you buy into Nedbank’s greenwash?

As the bank with “green answers” – according to their marketing campaign – I have a few questions for Nedbank. Nedbank has put a lot of effort into creating the impression of being a ‘green’ bank. They have an entire website devoted to the environment, and a range of account options with a green ‘flavour’….

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An introduction to economic indicators

Last week I told you what this blog is about: economic indicators. This week, we’ll actual dive into what they are and why they matter. But before doing so, I want to take a step back and say a few words about the way South Africa’s economy actually works. There are two things I can…

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Why can’t we get ourselves out of this sticky mess?

By Roger Diamond The news is oozing with opinions on the Eurozone crisis, debt defaults, bailouts and why eating baklava is about to be banned. Although there is plenty of merit in getting stuck into the details of easing the pain of recession and finding short term solutions to employment, liquidity and keeping the monetary…

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Economics for ordinary people

I write a weekly economics preview for the Mail & Guardian Online. Every Monday morning, before South Africa’s markets open, I preview the noteworthy economic events and data releases likely to generate headlines and move markets in the week ahead. The economic events that I cover vary significantly from one week to the next. One…

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Christmas spending: where’s the money coming from?

Sandton City is a madhouse. The reports are disturbing: gaggling crowds of teens everywhere, shops heaving with bodies, zombies wandering from store to store, gift lists clutched in clammy hands. Some of my hollow-eyed acquaintances report that they didn’t even make it beyond the parking lot. Christmas is coming, and apparently South Africans are shopping…

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