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Budget 2019: Hope for a great escape

The success of the minster will be measured by the cheer (or not) of the currency and the markets.

Legendary escapologist Harry Houdini began his career escaping from handcuffs but later went on to dazzle audiences with escapes from large milk cans, his specially designed Chinese water torture cell and buried caskets. The difficulty of the escapes was often ratcheted up by binding the escape vessels with chains and locks and restricting Houdini’s movements with a straight jacket.

Craig Pheiffer, chief investment strategist at Absa Stockbrokers and Portfolio Management, says finance minister Tito Mboweni faces a similar challenge when he presents the National Budget on February 20. For Mboweni to effect a successful “escape” on Wednesday, he will need to show something of a return to the path of fiscal consolidation – budget speak for smaller budget deficits going forward – while at the same time solving for the pressing financial demands of Eskom and the other state-owned enterprises.

Read: #Budget2019: 4 things to watch

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