The number ‘12’ has significance across many religions and belief systems across the world and through the ages. The ancient Greeks had twelve major deities, Zeus and Apollo being two of the more famous ones. Hercules, the son of Zeus, had twelve feats he had to accomplish as penance, and according to legend, they were completed over twelve years. The number twelve features across the world’s major religions – in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible, as well as the Quran. In Chinese culture the Zodiac follows a 12-year cycle – 2007 and 2019 are both years of the Pig.
There is another reason we could attach great worth to the number ‘12’. Twelve years ago, on 20 October 2007, South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in France, and 12 years before that we won it on home soil against our arch-rival New Zealand.
So why is ‘12’ significant to us in financial markets today?
Twelve years ago:
- The world economy was entering the Global Financial Crisis (GFC);
- US house prices turned negative in year-on-year terms in 4Q07;
- The Fed was aggressively cutting interest rates (from 5.25%!);
- The S&P500 made a pre-GFC peak in 4Q07;
- The Fed’s balance sheet was smaller than US$1trillion;
- The rand was trading at 6.50 against the US dollar;
- South Africa’s government debt was only 26% of GDP;
- South Africa had a budget surplus;
- And Naspers was less than 2% of the ALSI.
Will 2 November 2019 stack up to be another 12-year rugby feat for the men in green and gold? Let’s hope so!
But when it comes to investments, hope is not a strategy, nor is relying on the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
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