It’s complicated. That’s how one can describe SA’s economic outlook for the year given the events of the past three weeks. There are encouraging developments globally, though they will not improve our economic growth prospects. And there’s just too much noise locally, devoid of tangible progress on the economic reforms proposed by the Treasury in late 2019 as far as implementation is concerned. 

There are some silver linings globally, with the US and China reaching a phase one trade deal this week that promises no further escalation of trade tensions. However, global trade economists in the know point out three things that in effect make this no game-changer. First, this trade deal does not reverse the affect of trade tariffs that were implemented until September 2019. Second, the global value chains involving China have already shifted and will not revert to their structure before the trade tension. Third, a lot more will need to be done before global investment accelerates....

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