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SA legal firms sheltered from global market turmoil
BusinessDay.co.za - South Africa
THE current market turmoil is reshaping many businesses, and the legal profession is no exception. Globally, law firms are laying off professional staff, delaying new recruitment , and in some instances even closing their doors, forcing lawyers to take to the pavements to look for work.

As many as 10000 lawyers could be out of work in the UK in the next two years. Scores of partners have been pushed out of the "magic circle" of law firms and many others have been forced to take a pay cut.

David Lancaster, chairman of Webber Wentzel, says that in the UK there has been a breach of trust as "law firms have been shaken to the core". "Law will never be looked on as the same distinguished profession. Young people will re-look at their choice of career."
Business Day

Household credit risk - June 2009
FNB - South Africa
Households' fortunes rise on the back of interest rate cuts, but risks to future ability to service debt remain high
Recently, the news for the household/consumer sector has become mildly better, with interest rates and inflation having declined significantly. Insolvencies growth has slowed sharply from near 109% in the 3rd quarter of 2008 to 10% by the 1st quarter of this year, and decline (negative growth) in both this figure as well as banks' nonperforming
loans may not be far off.

FNB Property Barometer survey respondents tell us that demand activity levels have risen mildly in recent quarters, and the FNBBER Consumer Confidence Index has started to rise moderately over the past 2 quarters, and so it should because reduced interest rates have made it slightly easier for many to service (repay) debt.
Household credit risk

FNB House Price Index - June 2009
FNB - South Africa
Recent SARB data pointed to a lack of progress by the household sector in reducing its debt burden, as measured by the debt-to disposable income ratio. This ratio, after a 2-quarter decline last year, began to rise again late last year due to disposable income growth falling at a faster rate than household sector credit growth. This is reflective of the severity of the global and domestic recession. The lower income/affordable segment may well be under most strain currently.

There are some early signs that the domestic economy may be moving nearer to stabilisation, as it should once economy-wide inventory reduction (in response to a general demand slump) nears its end. The SARB Leading Indicator has begun to move broadly sideways in recent months, a hint that we may be nearing this point. Nevertheless, it remains a weak economy with a strained household sector, which implies the expectation of only moderate interest rate-driven increase in demand, while financial stress-related selling remains rife. The view thus remains that weak demand and an apparent oversupply of property on the market is expected to translate into national house price deflation at least for the rest of 2009. The rate of deflation, though, is expected to gradually subside in the second half of the year.
FNB House Price Index

Exposed: Property industry power struggle shocker
RealEstateWeb - South Africa
Inside the ugly battle between Estate Agency Affairs Board, Services SETA. Millions at stake, public mudslinging, legal threats, nasty e-mails.

The Services SETA CEO, apparently angered by the Estate Agency Affairs Board's failure to follow business correspondence protocol and mudslinging, has withdrawn tens of millions of rands' worth of funding from a programme to professionalise South Africa's estate agents.

Realestateweb reporter Denise Mhlanga has been investigating the ugly battle that has been unfolding between two powerful organizations in the country's residential property sector and uncovered an ugly chain of correspondence between the two (see "related documents" at the end of this article).

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