One of the best bets on the JSE in mid-2020 would have been to buy shares in the two weakest of the large banks: Nedbank and Absa. At one point Absa had fallen to a rating of just 0.5 times price to book — that is, a 50% discount on the tangible value of the business.

To put it in perspective, it was the same level to which the most dysfunctional and undercapitalised Japanese banks fell in the depths of the 1990s...

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