Perdeberg Pinot Noir Rose

It’s a pink bubbly for the latest Die Vine Intervention wine tasting podcast. Food and wine guru Michael Olivier talks the panel through the Perdeberg Pinot Noir Rose, a classy and elegant offering.
John Fraser is joined in the Johannesburg studio by Tsogo Sun’s group sommelier Miguel Chan, by Chris Gilmour from Barclays Capital and by leading economist Mike Schussler.

Inflation worries.

There was bad news for borrowers today, but probably one should say it was bad news for us all.   Inflation, which is one of the economic indicators which should scare us most, rose to 6% in March – the top of the target range of the Reserve Bank.  This means both that price rises are happening at a disturbing rate, and that the pressure will be on the Reserve Bank to do something about high inflation.  And that something normally involves hikes in interest rates…..

So, what do our experts say?

Nedbank Economic Unit:

The inflation outlook remains poor in the short term as the rand is still vulnerable despite its recent strengthening.

The Reserve Bank has made it clear that we are in a rate-hiking cycle, but the extent and speed will be rand and data dependent.

The Reserve Bank governor also raised the possibility of hikes in smaller increments than the usual 50 basis points. Given the need to balance growth prospects with higher inflation we anticipate that rates will rise by 25 basis points at two of the next four meetings.


Headline CPI inflation is likely to largely remain contained within the 3 – 6% target band and any breach should prove temporary in nature. This would afford the SARB the room to normalise monetary policy at a gradual pace. We continue to expect only one more interest rate hike this year of 50bp, to be implemented in July.


So, it looks as if interest rates are about to head North again.  Good for lenders.  Not so for borrowers…..


ZA Confidential is being re-launched following a brief  period during which its editor John Fraser has been on a full-time contract to assist with the editing of a new book on the BRICS, which is being written by Investment Solutions’ Glenn Silverman and Chris Hart. It will resume on a more regular schedule from today.

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Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc

For the latest Die Vine Intervention wine tasting podcast, award-winning food and wine guru Michael Olivier introduces the 2013 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc, an elegant and refined Cape white.
John Fraser is joined in the Johannesburg studio by Malcolm MacDonald from Tersos.

Let’s all Move to Nigeria. Or Not.

Hands up every South African who wants to go and live in Nigeria? Didn’t think so. 

Of course it is significant, symbolic and shocking that we are no longer the African lion, king of the jungle, top dog, Numero Uno.

The Nigerians have knocked us off our perch, are now 60% larger than us in terms of some economic measure or other, and there is already talk that they should start shoving us aside in organisations like the BRICS and the G20.

But let us take a step back – even if, arguably, we just have.

This reweighted Nigerian economy is one which is heavily oil-oriented.   Take away the oil, and Nigeria tumbles down the ranking.

Yes, it has lots of people, far more than South Africa, but as Nedbank’s Chief Economist Dennis Dykes explained on the radio the other day, the larger Nigerian economy means that in terms of GDP per head, they are still behind SA.  They may be richer, but if you are about to be born, and are reading this for some reason neither of us will quite understand, head for Jo’burg not Lagos.

And while economic measures are of some use, there are other reasons for liking or not liking a country.   Nigeria is one of the nations which has recently taken a backward step in terms of gay rights, has massive religious tensions which result in frequent massacres, has an unstable power supply (yes, even worse than South Africa’s!) and you really don’t want to get stuck in their traffic jams or airport queues.

I have a friend who was posted there for a while, and spoke of serious security concerns. You may not be 100% safe in Johannesburg, but Lagos is probably worse, particularly if you are a top executive or diplomat who might attract a healthy ransom.

So, while I raise my glass of Moet (which apparently sells better in Nigerian Shoprite Checkers supermarkets than it does in South African ones, where the canny consumer will probably opt for the far better Cap Classic option) to the Nigerians, it is with a tinge of irony.

You may be No 1. But we in South Africa know all too well that No 1 can spend quite a lot of time dodging buckets full of No 2.