Friday, 1 September 2017


During the last month it looks as if the JSE and the rand have behaved quite satisfactorily while bonds have done nothing special. The big loser in August was the US dollar. One now needs about 120 US pennies to buy the much-reviled euro. This is almost 15% more expensive than it was at the beginning of the year. The Dow Jones index of US share prices is up by about the same amount in the same period. This suggests that non-US folk have a much dimmer view of that nation’s future than do the locals.
My just ended trip to that country to experience the total solar eclipse would confirm this impression. The majority of the charming, friendly and helpful people in North America have scant interest or knowledge of very much beyond even their State Line let alone the national border. The place is so vast and seemingly bountiful that non-domestic matters have no impact on people’s lives.
The eclipse event was momentous and its impact in real time and place is impossible to convey to anyone who has not experienced one.
Meanwhile it is pleasing to notice that little has changed back home. Our president’s attitude towards arithmetic and public money is starting to rub off on the youth. The lass who splurged a goodly chunk of the R14million paid to her in error (what?) by the Student Loan Fund is set for high office. Obviously neither the principles of loan finance nor ethics form part of her course work.
And the sports story to catch the eye of this weary traveller is that our national soccer team has to beat the Cape Verde islanders in an away match tonight to help their hopes of getting to the next World Cup. Just for the record that country has a population smaller than a tenth of ours. Bafana had better have some pretty good excuses prepared if they muck this one up.
James Greener
Friday 1st September 2017