Awards for Excellence 2009: South Africa
Best Bank: Absa
Last year the rand was one of the world’s worst-performing currencies. This year, it has been one of the best. The extreme volatility of commodity prices over the past 12 months has been partly to blame.
In the past 12 months the credit environment in South Africa has deteriorated and this might continue since more jobs are being lost. The longer-term outlook might be rosy because of demand for commodities in Asia. An infrastructure programme and rising public investment might also be beneficial to the economy.
Last year, however, much of the problem was attributable to interest rates that had been rising for three years. Although the fall in property prices has only been of a few percent, Standard Bank, First Rand, Absa and Nedbank, the country’s biggest financial institutions, all reported rises in loan impairments last year.