THE VISIBLE HAND
TIM COHEN: Logistics sector a bellwether for economic activity, but it has its own peculiarities too
Barloworld, Imperial and Supergroup all surged in the first few months of 2018 but then subsided. The drama of this reversal has been enormous
If there is a share category that really has illustrated the euphoria of the first part of this year and the depression that followed, it’s the logistics sector. Barloworld, Imperial and Supergroup all surged in the first few months of the year but then subsided. On a three-year span, logistics groups threatened to outperform, but have now deflated, more or less rejoining the JSE’s overall flat trajectory, which has been the story of the market for the past period. The drama of this reversal has been enormous: Barloworld was at one point 110% up on a three-year scan and is still up more than 50% on that measure. Super Group is flat and Imperial is up 24%. The reason for this reversal is obvious. Logistics companies are, generally speaking, tightly bound to the economy. Effectively intermediaries between buyers and sellers of all types in all sections of the economy, they are great economic bellwethers. It’s worrying therefore that they seem to have lost much of their lustre.The broa...