Relativity In The Investment World
Finweek English|16 September 2021
Which asset classes boast the best value relative to others?
Schalk Louw

Relativity in the investment world is as important as it is in the real world. Let’s use the Covid-19 pandemic as an example: South Africa and Italy both have a population of around 60m people. We know that Italy was one of the hardest hit countries in the world at the onset of the pandemic, and up to the end of 2020 they lost an average of 185 people per day to Covid-19. South Africa was hit just as hard but lost relatively fewer people to Covid-19 with an average of 100 deaths per day up to the end of 2020. Italy was more successful with their vaccination programme this year, however, and up to and including 16 August 2021 (according to the WHO), 31.4m people have been fully vaccinated.

Here, SA was relatively slower with the roll-out of its vaccination programme and over the same period, only 3.7m people were fully vaccinated. While Italy’s Covid-19 related deaths declined from an average of 181 per day at the beginning of this year to 47 per day over the past three months, SA’s death toll rose to an average of 215 per day for the whole of 2021 so far, with this figure now on the rise at a current average of 239 per day over the past three months. It’s therefore clear that the second and third waves have hit SA much harder than it hit Italy, and I would argue that is largely due to Italy’s successful vaccine programme.

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