We were among the first to warn of the recession before it happened and we quite literary got blasted from many other mainstream economists and editorials in major business publications. While we do not claim to be a Roubeni or a Bootle we did warn that SA was heading for a recession as commodity prices sank. The Reserve Bank and some government departments called us names but six months later the worst recession in 30 years did start.
At the same time we stated that we would see over 300 000 jobs loses (for 2009) while many "mainstream" analysts said we were alarmist. The country lost more than a million jobs over the next two years. We were not alarmist but rather conservative.
We were the first economists to forecast that 1st quarter 2009 growth would be mover 4% negative (It turned out to be over 7% negative).
We are still the first to point out that South African household and commercial electricity is not the cheapest while increasing tariffs will make Household electricity among the most expensive on a PPP basis.
Twice Economists of the year, Mike is the only economist this decade to achieve this status in South Africa.
We continue to believe that both the SA economy is bigger than estimated as is the population. (Both have since been adjusted upwards; the GDP by 2,4% for 2006 and the population by about 3%.)
We have also won the best Johannesburg Sakekamer member (Joburg Chamber member) in 2010 for our service to the business community.
The first and so far only regional monthly economic tracker in South Africa that has now been published for five years.
The first economist in South Africa to state the fact that more people receive welfare payment than actually work. (2010 UASA employment Report)
Looking further back . . .
First economist to identify and track administrative prices in South Africa (as well as publish it in both academic circles and via the SAIRR publication fast facts). Later StatisticsSA created their own administrative price tracker although different from ours nonetheless.
Correctly predicted house price decline in 2007 for 2008/9. Collapse of the residential real estate market sales.
Among the first to predict 1998 economic decline. Although not a full recession many did lose their jobs and the transport volumes of my then employer were down dramatically.
One of the few South African economists to be acknowledged internationally by business leaders such as chairman of UBS.
One of the few economists who predicted some comeback in the Rand after 2001. While we did not expect the Rand to regain more than half it's strength we did forecast a change in the trend of the ever declining currency.
We stated that according to our take on UIF data that the formal sector in SA was about a million or even slightly more understated. StatisticsSA took us to task both in the press and via our clients by telling them we had "no idea" how we got to our figures. Just before the Easter Weekend about one year later StatisticsSA adjusted their own figure with 870 000 (about 12,5%). As we then stated they also adjusted salaries upward too.
In 1998 we complained about mistakes in the PPI numbers. After denial at first and called to account in the Mail and Guardian at that stage, StatisticsSA did adjust the PPI numbers a few months later.
Heck even the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank have called us - perhaps you too can discuss things with us.