A changing environment
These are certainly eventful times and 2016 was marked by a number of events that will have an impact on us going forward.
One of the main motivations for Brexit is the free movement of people and the distaste of Brussels prescribing to the British people. There has been no love lost between the British and the Europeans. Globalisation, as idealistic as it may seem, is no longer the flavour of the day, with refugee inflows and the threat of terrorism and war changing attitudes. We have just recovered from the shock of Brexit when the Americans surprise us.
Despite many Americans considering Donald Trump an obnoxious person, an unexpected victory took him to the White House to lead the American people. Perhaps the surprise was due to many people being too embarrassed to admit they would vote Trump. His gracious acceptance speech contained none of the radical ideas that were the norm during his campaign, but rather a call to unite the people of America. With a clean sweep of the Congress taking majorities in the House and Senate, it will leave an open path for changes which may have otherwise been vetoed.
What impact will the seriously anti-globalism ideas which seems exactly what the American people want, have on global trade and freedom of movement of people? It is too early to gauge what impact future policies will have on South Africa above the short-term currency plays and financial market movements we have seen.
Locally the Gordhan saga continues with the fraud case withdrawn, but the rogue unit case continuing. It is unlikely we will see the back of this circus for some time. State capture accusations stay on centre stage, but are predictably likely to be dragged out until late in 2017. Rating agencies' guillotine still hangs over our heads, but the question we must ask is how much damage has already been done and has the market discounted much of this risk already?
The SA poultry industry
The poultry industry in South Africa, the largest consumer of protein, mainly in the form of oilseed meals, is reeling under the burden of cheap poultry imports which have increased an estimated 43% year on year.
Major oversupply of chicken in the market due to imports have made it impossible for local producers to produce profitably, despite the cost of production of chicken being extremely globally competitive and performance parameters being among the best in the world. The industry is expecting that by the end of the year over 6 000 jobs could be lost. Significant retrenchments have already commenced in the larger poultry organisations.
The impact of difficult times in the poultry industry will have consequences on the current and future growth of oilseed meal demand.