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  • February 26, 2018
    Equities
    Elena Tedesco
    During a recent research trip to Russia, we gained valuable insights into the country’s new economy. As the nation’s economic recovery begins to splutter despite a backdrop of higher oil prices, we ask: can Russia’s tech sector provide much-needed balance to the economy? Cyber-espionage accusations against Russia, state sanctions and poor governance have dominated news flow in recent years. The fundamentals of the country’s technology sector have been overshadowed by the state’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential campaign and hacking of state secrets and corporations. Russia’s tech sector pales in comparison to the country’s oil and gas industry in size, which produced an average of almost 11m barrels per day in 2017 – the highest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But despite higher oil output and prices, the country’s economic recovery from its 2015-2016 recession remains anaemic. Russia’s economy grew 1.5% in 2017, undershooting its 2% target, after industrial production unexpectedly fell in November due to a slowdown in Russian defence spending. Consensus forecasts point to 1.9% GDP growth this year. Furthermore, at 7.5%, the Bank of Russia’s key interest rate further constrains growth.
  • November 29, 2017
    Equities
    Gary Greenberg
    “Companies do not exist in isolation: they use resources from the commons, employ labour and attract customers from towns and cities, and are required to operate under the laws of the land. They influence the lives of far more people than shareholders alone, but unfortunately plenty of businesses act to the detriment of many – including, in the long run, themselves and their investors.”
  • December 6, 2016
    Equities
    Elena Tedesco
    While South Africa’s market performance has been unremarkable so far in 2016, political and economic events within the country have been more dramatic. Elena Tedesco, Co-Portfolio Manager – ESG Strategies, on the Emerging Markets team at Hermes Investment Management, discusses the ongoing challenges and opportunities in a nation facing significant upheaval. South Africa has performed broadly in line with the rest of the emerging markets this year (see Figure 1). Yet delve deeper and it is clear that the country and its economy have had a much more turbulent year.