Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Africa Had The Best Performing Stock Market In The World

Last updated: December 31, 2014 2:00 pm

Russian equities worst performers of 2014

aerial view of central Moscow©AFP
The combination of the oil price collapse and the continuing conflict in Ukraine proved particularly toxic for investors in Russian equities.
Russia was by some way the worst-performing country in 2014 among MSCI indices, showing a total return of minus 42.3 per cent, calculated on a dollar basis, which includes dividends and share price movements.
By contrast Egypt was the best-performing stock market tracked by MSCI, showing total returns of 31.1 per cent.
Reform is not a defining feature of Egypt, where 18 months ago an army coup toppled the democratically elected government of the Muslim Brotherhood and subsequently led to the election as president of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief. But a relief rally after the turmoil of the Arab spring has led to the MSCI index for Egypt almost doubling since the middle of 2013.
Hopes for reform boosted Indonesian stocks, which have been among the best performers during the past five years and are again near the top of the table, with a total return of 26.6 per cent.
International fund managers are moving into southeast Asia’s biggest economy, attracted by the potential returns from managing Indonesians’ money. Investors have taken heart from early steps by the new president, Joko Widodo, to address some underlying economic problems.
Indonesia has just announced that it will ditch petrol subsidies and link retail prices to international oil markets, in one of the biggest reforms to its energy subsidies in decades.
Shares in the Philippines have grown steadily since the victory of the reform-minded administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino in 2010. Its stock market shows total returns of 26.4 per cent.
Investors are attracted by a structurally advanced economy, with a service sector that accounts for more than half the economy. A big proportion of that income comes from overseas.
India was another top performer, with returns of 22.6 per cent. Investors have been cheered by election successes of the governing Bharatiya Janata party, which they hope will encourage premier Narendra Modi to press on with his reform programme.
Global markets 1
Military rule has not prevented investors in Thailand receiving 16.8 per cent returns in 2014. The army coup in May in southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy was followed by pledges to tackle waste and eliminate corruption, although the junta has scrapped all polls and made only a vague pledge for their return.
There are also questions over the appetite for reform of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The former Turkish premier, who was elected president in August, is keen to stifle dissent in business circles and punish those with links to the moderate Islamist Gulen movement. But this fractious political backdrop has not stopped investors getting total returns of 17.8 per cent from Turkish shares.
Given the strength of the US economic recovery and the surge in value of the dollar, it is perhaps surprising that the US ranks only eighth in the MSCI league table, with total return of 14.5 per cent.
Exposure to the tumbling price of oil has hit Norwegian shares, returns of which were minus 20.3 per cent.
But Portugal was the worst-performing European country in the MSCI, with total returns of minus 37.2 per cent. Investors were upset by the rescue of Banco Espírito Santo, which was split into “good” and “bad” banks as part of a €4.9bn rescue that protected taxpayers and senior creditors but left shareholders and junior bondholders holding only toxic assets.
Portugal was also hurt by growing unease that deflation in the eurozone would particularly affect peripheral eurozone countries and concern that its elections in 2015 would provide an outlet for anti-austerity sentiment.
Global markets 2
Austria is seldom thought of as peripheral in the eurozone, but it too has been a laggard with total returns of minus 29 per cent. Analysts said this reflected the exposure of its banks to Russia and eastern Europe, which have been suffering from uncertainty caused by the Ukrainian conflict.
The stand-off between Russia and Europe over Ukraine has also hurt Hungary, where shares have suffered a return of minus 26.9 per cent for 2014. Hungary was one of the countries to express dismay when Russia abandoned South Stream, its $50bn gas pipeline across the Black Sea into Europe.
Hungary has alienated investors by taxing advertising revenues and forcing banks to compensate borrowers for what it sees as unfair conditions and charges on lending. However, in October Viktor Orban, prime minister, abandoned a plan for the world’s first internet tax following the largest mass demonstrations in Budapest in recent memory.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

An Incredible Couple

Yesterday evening Elena and I went to a post Christmas party hosted by Dr. Al and Liz Globus. These people are incredible. They raised five of their own children. After the Rwanda massacre they took in 4 your people from Rwanda and raised them. We had a wonderful time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Trophy Hunters Return To Cape Town's High-End Property Market

December 19, 2014 2:48 pm

Trophy hunters return to Cape Town’s high-end property market

Demand is growing for top homes in South Africa’s most expensive suburbs, with sales rising to $102m this year
Aerial view of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles mountain range©Martin Harvey/Alamy
Aerial view of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles mountain range
n Cape Town’s affluent coastal suburbs the houses are becoming more opulent and spectacular as they tower imperiously over the Atlantic Ocean from their mountainside perches. Yet for sheer extravagance one property stands out above them all — the aptly named Enigma Mansion.
The 7,000 sq metre, château-style building, completed in 2011, features an eclectic mix of styles, in turns elegant, gaudy and kitsch, while numerous portraits of naked and semi-naked voluptuous women lend it an air of eroticism.
The mansion in Camps Bay has been on the market with a price tag of R300m ($25.8m) for about two years, making it the most expensive private residence ever put up for sale in South Africa. Yet the identity of the owners, who designed and built the property, has not been disclosed (at least not officially). Those involved in its sale will only describe the owner as a “retired European investment banker”. The South African press, however, have reported that he is married to a former adult movie star, with the added titbit that many of the nude pictures are of his wife.
The intrigue surrounding the property may not have helped it to sell and earlier this month the owners slashed the asking price to R172M. Still, Enigma Mansion has brought attention to Cape Town’s high-end property market as it bounces back from a lull triggered by the 2008 economic crisis. This year, 39 “trophy” properties in Cape Town have sold for more than R20m ($1.7m) each, representing a total value of just under R1.2bn ($102m), compared with just 25 “trophy” sales worth a total of R712m in 2013, according to Seeff Property Services, a South African real estate agency.
The average sale price at the top end of the Atlantic Seaboard, which includes the suburbs of Camps Bay, Clifton, Bantry Bay and Fresnaye, is about R31m, up from R29m last year, the agency adds.
Sitting room at Enigma Mansion, originally priced at $25.9m, making it the most expensive private house ever put up for sale in South Africa
Sitting room at Enigma Mansion, originally priced at $25.9m, making it the most expensive private house ever put up for sale in South Africa
Another high-end property for sale along the Seaboard is a R65m mountainside home on sale with property agents Pam Golding. North facing to capture the best of the sun, the four-bedroom home has an infinity pool, an indoor pool, a home theatre and a lift.
Cape Town — South Africa’s second city — is famed for its sea views, the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain, and proximity to the country’s picturesque wine-producing regions. For an African city, it has a distinctly European feel with chic cafés, cobbled pedestrian areas and pristine white beaches.
Indeed, Western Cape, its home province, is unusual in many ways. It is the only province where black South Africans are not in the majority: they comprise about a third of its 5.8m population. It is also the only one of nine provinces governed by the country’s opposition instead of the ruling African National Congress.
For many black South Africans the so-called “Mother City” has been slow to transform in the 20 years since the end of apartheid, and is at times viewed pejoratively as an enclave separate from the rest of the country. Many of the structural and economic barriers that are a legacy of apartheid linger, with white residents tending to live in the leafy, affluent suburbs, while many mixed-race residents live in the rundown “Cape Flats” and the majority of the black population in ramshackle townships.
However, the black middle and upper classes are growing, albeit gradually. Between 1994 and 2008, the country’s black middle class more than doubled to 5.4m, or 14 per cent of the black population. This in turn has led to more wealthy black buyers looking to the higher end of Cape Town’s property market. “The last two years have been defining,” says Basil Moraitis, at Pam Golding. “Until then, we had very few black buyers.”
Capetown map
Pam Golding’s biggest residential sale in South Africa this year is a house in Bishopscourt — part of the southern suburbs where high-end houses stand in large grounds — which was bought by a black businessman for R69m. Another property still on the market in the southern suburbs was once owned by Charles Spencer, the British earl, and was where he hosted his sister, Diana, Princess of Wales, months before her death in 1997. The sprawling Tarrystone estate in the Constantia suburb is the epitome of opulence, with its lavish, thatched main house, guest cottages, landscaped gardens, tennis court, gym and sauna. The estate, which Earl Spencer sold more than a decade ago, is available through Seeff priced R70m.
As the market has rebounded, property consultants say a key a challenge is finding adequate stock at the top end, particularly along the Atlantic Seaboard. The difficulty is that prime coastal areas are trapped between the sea and the mountains. “It’s not as if you can open up new portions of land — what is there is there,” says Stefan Antoni, a prominent South African architect who has designed dozens of homes along the Seaboard.
He is building his own 1,500 sq metre property on Nettleton Road, a cul-de-sac considered the most expensive street in South Africa. As well as being the highest street in Clifton, Nettleton also offers, for those who can afford it, a key Cape Town ingredient — protection from the notorious south-easterly winds in summer. “Once you have paid a premium on your land you may as well maximise your land, so people are definitely building bigger,” says Antoni.
Andrew England is the FT’s Southern Africa bureau chief

Buying guide

Afrikaans is widely spoken together with English
Like much of South Africa, which has a murder rate of about 47 per day, security is an issue. Many homes have high walls and electric fences, although most crime occurs in the Cape Flats and townships
Western Cape’s climate if often compared with that in the Mediterranean, with rainy, cold winters and hot, dry summers

What you can buy for . . . 

£500,000 A four-bedroom house, with two garages and a pool in Claremont, one of Cape Town’s leafy southern suburbs
£1m A three-bedroom house with a heated pool and sea views in Fresnaye
£4m A four-bedroom house in Clifton, the priciest suburb of the Atlantic Seaboard
Main photograph: Martin Harvey/Alamy

Africa Global Funds - MMI to acquire Imara S.P. Reid for $10.28m

Africa Global Funds - MMI to acquire Imara S.P. Reid for $10.28m:

'via Blog this'

Imara Investor Relations – IMARA | Announcement of Disposal of Imara SP Reid

Imara Investor Relations – IMARA | Announcement of Disposal of Imara SP Reid:

'via Blog this'

Oil and Gas Africa:  Pipeline Politics comes to SADC | AFKInsider

Oil and Gas Africa:  Pipeline Politics comes to SADC | AFKInsider:

'via Blog this'