2015 was a tough year, and things aren’t letting up. In fact, recession remains a very real possibility.
“While it may be too early to anticipate the South African economy slipping into a recession, the economy struggled in 2015, with a second-quarter contraction of 1,3%, followed by third-quarter growth at merely 0,7%,” says Autus Fund Managers analyst Francois Roux.
“Drought conditions could continue to hurt the economy over the next few months, especially the agricultural sector. The tumbling oil price has helped local consumers and businesses that use oil as a production input, although much of this benefit has been offset by a depreciation in the rand.”
In the second half of 2015, economies around the world had to deal with challenges such as poor growth, currency volatility and inflation, amongst other factors.
Emerging markets, in particular, were worst hit as a result of the flight of capital to more developed economies, the heavy reliance on commodity prices, which have come under pressure, and a depreciating currency.
South Africa, forming part of this grouping, has its fair share of similar challenges, exacerbated by concerns around the long-term impact of the current drought. Reviews by ratings agencies and the increase in US interest rates also forecast a tough outlook for the country.
Eric Enslin, CEO of FNB Private Wealth and RMB Private Bank, says, in light of all these factors, investors have to consider diversifying as part of their long-term investment strategy, and in the process, minimise the risk associated with the current economic adversities.
“Investors with high exposure to equities would have already seen the need to diversify their portfolios as the local market has come under severe pressure over the last year. The main aim of diversification is to limit volatility or risk within your portfolio and thereby smooth returns over time.
“It is important to have a planned diversification strategy in order to achieve your stated goals. Random diversification could lead to uncertainty about the outcome. Diversification also needs to take place over asset class, sector, geography and currency, amongst others.
“Local investors will have a lot to ponder because of the number of adverse factors that continue to weigh heavily on the local economy.
“Compared to global norms where investors often explore opportunities in foreign countries, South African investors predominantly invest locally. On one hand, this shows confidence in one’s domicile country but it can limit the maximising of investment opportunities and one’s investment strategy.
“You need to have a holistic investment approach, because every region or country offers a unique opportunity. For instance, some analysts have questioned whether emerging markets can deliver on their potential amid the challenges. However, emerging markets are hard to ignore as a source of return in a diversified portfolio.”
Indeed, with the current state of the local economy, investing offshore is looking increasingly canny. At the same time, though, it is also looking expensive. So, is it a good idea?
“The rand, which was down 25,9% against the US dollar over the course of 2015, will continue to be a big theme in 2016. Depending on the investor’s view of the local currency, it might be worth considering global equities as a prospective asset class. If the rand loses further ground against its global counterparts, investors will see gains in their offshore holdings,” says Autus’s Roux.
“There’s always a temptation to think that everywhere else is safer than here when it comes to investing. This obviously isn’t the case, and, moreover, investing overseas is expensive now,” says Saville.
“However, I still believe that global diversification is a good idea. You should invest in things that you identify as working well — you need to look at a company’s dividend yield, quality, size and momentum. There are high-value opportunities that simply aren’t available locally.”
Galileo Capital executive director Warren Ingram agrees. “I wouldn’t suggest that people rush to get their money out of the country. We faced the same scenario in the early-2000s. The rand lost a lot of value quickly, and then slowly drifted back. I think there’s a good chance that we will see the same thing happen again,” says Ingram.
“Still, I would recommend having about a quarter of your total wealth outside of the country. And it would be a good idea to feed your money into the market over a period of six to nine months.”
11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency has had a tumultuous existence so far.
11 Bits about Bitcoin
Even the most tech savvy among us have a hard time wrapping their heads around Bitcoin. It’s a hot topic and a frequent point of discussion among investors, entrepreneurs and stock traders, so you should want to know all about it.
For starters, here’s an overly simplified explanation of Bitcoin: It’s a digital currency (there are more than 800 now) that isn’t controlled by a central authority such as a government or bank. It’s created by “miners,” who use computers and specialised hardware to process transactions, secure the currency’s network and collect bitcoins in exchange.
Supporters say it allows for more secure transactions over the internet. That’s in part due to blockchain, a technology that records cryptocurrency transactions chronologically in a public digital ledger.
Bitcoin is only eight and a half years old, but it’s the oldest and most highly valued cryptocurrency out there. In such a short time, it’s had a rocky and controversial history, but it’s also attracted a fair share of high-profile supporters.
Click through to read 11 bits about Bitcoin that will make you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about next time it inevitably comes up.
The birth of Bitcoin
The proof was then published to a cryptocurrency mailing list in 2009. Nakamoto left the project in 2010 and disappeared, but other developers picked up the work.
Bitcoin’s birthday is Jan. 3, when Nakamoto mined the first 50 units of the currency.
An elusive creator
The true identity of Bitcoin’s creator has never been confirmed. Newsweek claimed to have found Bitcoin’s creator in 2014, identifying Temple City, Calif, resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. He has vigorously denied it.
In 2015, an Australian entrepreneur named Craig Wright said he was Bitcoin’s creator, but he couldn’t produce the evidence to support his claim.
Whoever Nakamoto is, that person is very rich, as the creator is estimated to have mined a million bitcoins in the currency’s early days.
Very expensive pizza
The first transaction involving bitcoin was reported on May 22, 2010, when a programmer identified as Laszlo Hanyecz said he “successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza.”
As of June 14, 2018, 10,000 bitcoins are worth about $64.8 million.
Fintech has become a disruptive force in the financial sector that is threatening the current status quo of banking and finance. The main beneficiary of that is the consumer.
You can spend bitcoins
While it may not seem like it, people continue to use bitcoins to buy stuff.
Federal Bureau of Bitcoin
At one point, the U.S. government was one of the largest holders of bitcoin.
In 2013, after the FBI shut down Silk Road, a darknet site where people could buy drugs and other illicit goods and services, it took over bitcoin wallets controlled by the site, one of which held 144,000 bitcoins.
Investors have been making a killing by bidding on government-seized bitcoins.
A mountain-sized setback
In early 2014, Bitcoin suffered a devastating loss after the alleged hacking of Mt. Gox, a Japanese exchange.
About $460 million of the currency (in 2014 value) was stolen. It was the largest loss of bitcoins ever and raised concerns about how secure the currency was.
The billionaires’ takes
Warren Buffett, perhaps the most famous investor in the world, was not so keen on Bitcoin one of the only times he addressed the currency.
“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically,” he told CNBC. “The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view.”
Fellow billionaire investor Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, had even stronger words about Bitcoin:
“You can’t have a business where people are going to invent a currency out of thin air. It won’t end well … someone is going to get killed and then the government is going to come down on it.”
But not all billionaires are against Bitcoin. Mark Cuban has said its value is inflated, but he recently invested in a venture capital fund that backs cryptocurrency. Richard Branson, however, has spoken more optimistically about it.
The rise and rise of digital currencies – and how they’re affecting your business.
Wealthy twins and a smart teen
Other notable investors in Bitcoin include Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the Harvard-educated twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook was based on an idea they’d had).
They invested $11 million into Bitcoin in 2013, an amount said to be about 1 percent of all bitcoins in circulation at that time. The Winklevoss twins have been petitioning the SEC to create a bitcoin exchange traded fund.
The agency rejected the idea earlier this year.
Another is investor and entrepreneur Erik Finman, who invested $1,000 into Bitcoin when he was 14 years old and is now a millionaire.
Celebrities want in
Celebrities have also expressed enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency.
Actor and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow advises Abra, a Bitcoin wallet, and Ashton Kutcher, Nas and Floyd Mayweather have all invested in Bitcoin start-ups.
Support from a big financial institution
In August 2017, Fidelity Investments became a rare standout among financial institutions in embracing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The company allows its clients to use the Fidelity website to view their bitcoin holdings held through digital wallet provider Coinbase.
“This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them,” Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at Fidelity Labs, told Reuters.
A hard fork
On Aug. 1 2017, Bitcoin experienced what’s being called a “hard fork” as a result of a few issues, including the limited number of transactions that can be processed per second. Essentially, the cryptocurrency split into two, with Bitcoin Cash debuting.
Here’s how Rob Marvin of PCMag explains the situation:
“The Bitcoin fork speaks to a fundamental ideological rift over what’s more important: Preserving the decentralised nature and independent control of the Bitcoin network, or accelerating transaction speeds to make the cryptocurrency more viable for mainstream ecommerce and payments.”
Bitcoin Cash allows larger blocks of currency and more transactions per second.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
9 Warren Buffett Quotes That Will Teach You More Than Just Investing
While he is one of the most famous investors in the world, his expertise goes beyond money.
Check out these nine quotes on time, success, mindset and more
There’s more to learn than finance from one of today’s most famous investors, Warren Buffett. In fact, the businessman, financial guru and philanthropist can teach you a thing or two about life. From taking risks to coping with change, Buffett’s expertise that expands far beyond stocks and dollar signs.
From a young age, the billionaire investor was destined for success – selling garbage bags to neighbors and delivering newspapers. By age 15, Buffett was already worth thousands of dollars and investing in real estate.
However, fast forward nearly 70 years and the “Oracle of Omaha” is now worth a whopping $77 billion, according to Forbes, making him currently the second richest person in the world (behind only Bill Gates).
There’s much to learn from Buffett too.
“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett
“I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars: I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.” – Warren Buffett
“The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.” – Warren Buffett
“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” – Warren Buffett
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” – Warren Buffett
“You do things when the opportunities come along.” – Warren Buffett
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett
“Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.” – Warren Buffett
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Your guide to understanding cryptocurrencies, why they are so popular and how you can use them.
Cryptocurrencies, like other forms of currency, provide a means of transacting goods and services. While other forms of exchange, such as fiat currencies (paper money) are issued, circulated and centrally controlled by governments and regulated by banks, cryptocurrencies are electronic and decentralised.
This means that transactions are peer-to-peer, negating the need, or additional expenses, of third party involvement such as banks or governments. The cryptocurrency market penetration will be facilitated by universal Wi-Fi and global mobile phone dispersion, enabling anyone to move money and assets, peer-to-peer, seamlessly and at almost no cost.
This clearly shows that it’s important that businesses and entrepreneurs understand this market in order to plan for the inevitable shift in the way the world transacts finances.
How does a cryptocurrency transaction work?
The infrastructure supporting the cryptocurrency system is called the Blockchain, a digital ledger that stores all transaction information, and addresses three of the most obvious problems of the current money transmittance system:
- It is decentralised, so transaction data is dispersed and not centrally controlled – this also means that the data is a lot more secure than with more traditional systems because there is not one point of entry for hackers.
- There is no third-party involvement (ie, banks), which makes transaction fees significantly lower.
- Transactions are in real-time and not encumbered by trading hours or bureaucracy.
Who controls cryptocurrency?
Like conventional banking, cryptocurrency has a complex underlying structure issuing currency, recording transactions and allowing people to transact. The main difference is that an algorithm issues the currency and ledgers (not banks or governments), storing the information in blocks. Transactions match up public codes relating to user-held private passwords from their cryptocurrency Wallets.
The transaction amounts are public, but who sent the transaction is encrypted. Whoever owns the password to the Wallet owns the denoted cryptocurrency amount shown on the ledger. Even though transactions are added sequentially, many may be added to the ledger at the same time. These chains of transactions grouped in blocks make up the Blockchain.
Are Cryptocurrencies Here to Stay?
Cryptocurrencies, and with it the Blockchain, have unlocked value and opportunities for commerce that would’ve been hard to imagine even a few decades ago. Here are 5 reasons why Cryptocurrency is here to stay:
- A transaction, once confirmed, cannot be reversed or tampered with. So, they are secure and indelible.
- Cryptocurrency is transferred between Blockchain addresses. So, no real-world entities are associated with the accounts.
- Transactions are processed instantly and globally. Therefore, there is no delay in transfers.
- Cryptocurrency uses cryptographical processes. So, funds are locked and only available to private key owners.
- Generally, cryptocurrency does not require permissions from an authority.
Investing in cryptocurrencies
When looking to invest in cryptocurrencies, keep in mind that they are just like other stocks and subject to change in value based on supply and demand. In fact, since cryptocurrencies are not insured, and exposed to market fluctuations, they bear the same risks as stock markets.
Some exciting work has however been done to address these potential fluctuations while also continually optimising cryptocurrency value by companies such as Krypteum, who offer an advanced A.I enabled investment crypto coin.
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