Economic indicators in pictures

I struggled to find a decent data-set of past economic indicators off the web. I’m sure there’s an easier way, but I had to trawl the horrible formats of Stats-SA and the Reserve Bank to get the mangled data underlying this graph. Seems like Stats-SA is either deliberately obfuscating their data, or they’re working on …

Don’t use Altman’s Z-score for managing a turnaround

I attended workshop presented by the famous credit analyst and model builder, Professor Edward Altman. He is probably most famous for the invention of the seemingly immortal Z score, which is still in use 40 years after its creation in 1968. During the workshop, Professor Altman recounted a story about how a company managed themselves …

Fraud and statistics

Like most power tools, statistics can be dangerous if left in the hands of the ill-trained or inebriated. Unlike rotary saws and industrial angle grinders, when you abuse statistics you don’t damage the tool but you do damage the result. Fraud statistics This is a general observation, but I was reminded of it recently when …

Pass me that nail would you

A frequent comment about why “property prices will keep going up” is that: They aren’t making land any more Building costs keep going up Our population is growing If these points are true, then this would provide a strong force to push property prices up. It still wouldn’t mean property prices couldn’t decline. Citizens still …

500 billion cups of coffee

Was enjoying coffee and scones at a Woolies cafe recently. Well, actually I wasn’t enjoying the scones because they had run out. They’ve been making a habit of running out of scones recently. Strange. But the amusing part of this story came from reading the coffee “Things you didn’t know” table thing. Point number 1: …

We can’t forefast

GDP growth below expectations and Standard Bank is likely to miss it’s already previously downwards revised earnings target. We can’t forecast. Our biases, overconfidence, wild anchoring on anything out there, herding instincts so as not to be wrong and obvious about and general inability to understand how little we know about the future are clear. So if we can’t forecast, and so many of our decisions depend on knowing the future, who are we kididng?