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Getting to Grips with the Challenges of the 2015/2016 Trading Year

With only weeks to go before the 2014/2015 trading year ends, fresh budgets are set for what could be [the] most challenging year in SA’s post-apartheid history. One heavily punctuated by desperate Political manoeuvres and demands for a “living wage” amidst growing unemployment – not to mention, total crisis as the Eskom debacle plunges the economy into darkness - or will it prove to be just the opposite - Eskom brings Medupi on line, so we can once again provide lots of low-cost power for the Region and, most importantly, plug the outflow of foreign exchange due to a huge consumption of imported turbine fuel to keep the lights on; The mining industry’s labour problems ease in response to profit sharing and our education department goes on-line with “paperless tuition” to reduce the Country’s skills dilemma?

or are we? I believe that over 98% of budgets presented for Board sign off are optimistic and predicting positive growth, albeit they will do so with some retrospect about a positive outcome.Given the current economic climate, it is difficult to decipher available economic indicators and project outcomes for their far-reaching ramifications over the entire economic outlook in the Region. No doubt, despite the considerable woes experienced in the present financial year, as always, optimism will prevail - notwithstanding shaky economic indicators registering discouraging growth figures – but hardly good enough to encourage optimistic investment.

Whatever the future holds (except a highly unlikely mass exodus for foreign investment) shareholder’ optimism can be counted on to keep the shop open. In this trading environment, economic survival will depend on what your competitors are doing about it, and how you measure up against them in terms of out-performing the best they have to offer.

Obviously, as land retribution gets underway, the country’s agricultural sector will quickly gain export markets and SA’s water crisis will be a thing of the past. Well, as no one can safely predict the future with any degree of certainty, we are compelled to flip the “preverbal coin” and hope for the best,

By: Hugh Sutherland

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Getting to Grips with the Challenges of the 2015/2016 Trading Year

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