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Lockdown update: the good, bad and amusing

Let us keep up the hope and be positive.

Today is the seventh day when lockdown should have ended, it has not.

As the lockdown has been extended to April 30 (next Thursday), we are unfortunately all still stuck at home, looking at the walls, playing with the dogs, wearing masks and trying to look busy.

Some good news on Covid-19 in South Africa is that it seems that South Africa might not be as badly affected as other countries. If one compares Portugal to Spain, Portugal has a much lower infection rate to Spain. South Africa similarly seems to have a much lower infection rate to other countries.

What do South Africa and Portugal have in common? Mandatory baby vaccination.

These seem to be a trend around the world. But in many ways, SA is still at the beginning of this cycle so let’s see if the trend continues.

We at Global & Local remain working for you, whilst adhering to the lockdown regulations.

It has been quite uplifting for us as management of Global & Local to see how well our staff are doing working from home. All our staff were very quickly up to full operating levels at their homes away from the offices, we are very proud of them.

So no need for you to fear, we are keeping our beady eyes on the markets and how they affect your investments, perhaps more so at the moment because in some ways the lockdown has improved the communication from the investment institutions and economists.

We have seen an increased trend form all the investment houses we work with. We are having invites for webinars every day and every night. If one were to participate in all of these, we wouldn’t actually do any work, and we would be really bored. Some of them are quite good.

The advantage of this is that we get a very good idea of how all the unit trust companies are positioning their funds, which makes the information we have at hand to make decisions about how to best firstly protect your invested capital (which is of paramount importance during times like this) and then to look for the capital growth for your money.

On Tuesday, April 14 the Sarb reduced interest rates to try and relieve some of the pressure on the economy. We think that that there will be more interest rate cuts this year as SA struggles with a slowing economy which has been brought to stop by the lockdown. This is great news if you have debt, but terrible news if you live off the interest.

We are now starting to get a picture of how the relaxation of lockdown is going to take place. America is in three phases, Spain and Austria are in front of the pack. In Spain, for example, factory workers and construction workers can go back to work. Schools remain closed at present.

From this we can see there will be no “big bang” to relaxing lockdown but rather a gradual relaxation of the regulations.

Now for some rather amusing observations on the lockdown:

  • There have been many reports (and internet videos) of long-distance runners and cyclists training at home. Even to the point of one triathlete doing a full iron man at home. He swam the distance in his pool, rode 100km on his indoor trainer and ran the marathon leg in his garden!
  • It is quite interesting that in SA where alcohol sales have been stopped. There seems to be a wave of people wanting to buy alcohol, but nobody seems to be wanting schools open again!
  • Blind opera singer Andre Boccelli performed at an empty Milan cathedral on Easter Sunday to spread hope.
  • The balcony singing and wishing each other well in Italy continues.
  • In Bryanston, there is somebody who blows his Vuvuzela at 7pm every evening (I’m glad I’m not their neighbour).
  • Safari guides in the greater Kruger National Park who are in lockdown are now doing game drives in the early morning and late afternoon which is streamed live on YouTube!

This is a historical period not only in South Africa but also globally.

The effects of this period are to be felt for years to come. Many businesses are going to disappear but where there is turmoil there is an opportunity, many creative minds have now been given the time during this lockdown period to work on their ideas. Who knows what businesses will be created by this period, worldwide. New science, new maths, new art, new everything. Let us wait and see.

Let us keep up the hope, be positive, spend time with your loved ones at home. Also, take the time to step away from the screens, take a walk in the garden or if you do not have 1, around the sofa. Learn to use your lawnmower again, breathe in some fresh air, let your eyes rest on the horizon outside for a while.

With that, I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe weekend.

Keep washing your hands, keep up the social distancing.

Remain hopeful, remain positive.

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Michael Haldane

Global & Local The Investment Experts


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