SIGNS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH:METAL DOORS CAN GIVE YOU A CLUE

Economists  get my mind in a spin when they start talking about projections,GDP and the stock market being bullish or bearish and other what not terms they use to describe the economy.

It is even more depressing watching news and they bring on the “5 seconds of fame” which is what business news  has been relegated to.Then my migraines start,the dollar is giving the Kenyan shilling a run for tis money yet our runners are celebrities because of their swiftness in marathons.

So I have come up with my own economic indicator on how tot ell how well the economy is doing .It basically involves a few things and people,pastry shops,masons,restaurants,stone masons and alcohol.

When I moved to Nakuru three years ago ,there were only three pastry shops and two   only served one kind of cake flavour -vanilla.There was a third that had a wider variety of sweet pastries but unfortuantely closed two years ago to give way to a mall.Thank God others came up to take its place.

Now take a walk around Nakuru,last time I checked there were twomore  coffee shops and three more cafe’s where you could have more than one variety of cake.

And we all know that Nakuru has been labelled one of the fastest growing town in Africa.

As an economy improves so do people’s spending power and if there are no customers for your sweet pastries,the economy is bad.

A population that does not consume enough sweet items like fancy cakes,pastries… is definetely  headed south

Another indicator of a  growing economy is how much wine is being drank.In Kenya it is  only a select few who drink wine and most of them are  upper middle class  or connossieurs who picked up the habit in their world travels.

A growing middle class will want to taste the finer things in life and is a good indicator the economy is growing in the right direction.A population drinking wine has moved from being concerned with what to put on the he table to a more adventorous palate.

The more the bottles wine shops are sellling  the better,your economy is on the right track.

You also need to look at the number of ethnic restaurants coming up and by this I do not mean those serving Kenyan cuisine.

The number of people eating out will be a good indicator that  Kenyans have enough money to spend to eat out because you guessed…..the economy is doing well.

They want to try out new cuisines,flavours,textures they want to see what they can enjoy outside what they taste buds are used to.

Talking to stone masons,carpenters and plumbers is also a good way to gauge how well  we are doing economically.The more you talk to who are working the better because in a growing economy the real estate industry shows people are either building their own homes or setting up  offices to meet the increasing demand.

But be careful with real estate,selling off agricultural land to set up gated communities is a no no.

Illegal drink business will also tell you how well the Kenyan economy is doing.he bigger it is the more worried economists should be. In a vibrant economy there would be no need to lace drinks with alcohol or implement laws to check on illigal drinks.

In the  Kenyan economy,the poorer it performs   the more deaths from methanol laced drinks there are.

And my absolute favourite………

Number of homes with metal doors and grill bars on windows will also let you know the economy is so bad people are protecting their few material possessions from the kleptomaniacs who seek to reap where they have not sown.

The more barred up windows,doors and air vents there are,the more likely it is your economy is headed south.

So there are my “economic indicators” let the jury decide whether I am right or wrong.

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KENYAN RECESSION:THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY

It’s official Kenya is experiencing one of the worst periods of recession since independence.

The Kenyan shilling is on a suicide mission against the dollar,business are cutting costs and we may soon see job cuts or hiring of more temporary staff by corporates.

And everything,literally everything from the packet of milk we use for breakfast tea to the matatu we take home from work ,we will have to pay more for .

First the good news…..

Some businesses and industries that will not get affected by the recession are the food industries,health and medical practitioners,hospitals included,alcohol manufacturers and those who sell  cosmetics.

People will always eat,recession or not,and fast food chains especially its a home run,fast food is always cheaper than the healthier stuff.

People will get sick and they will need medical attention,and even with the cost of drugs increasing as a result of the poor performance of the shilling,well these are people who will not be losing their jobs soon.

Alcohol manufacturers,whether Mututho laws are enforced or not will sell their brews as people seek to forget the harsh economic times they are living in.

It may not be surprising if we see many more people turning to cheap liquor,as the brands on the higher end of the market become unaffordable.

And women…they will want to look good,no matter the beating the shilling is taking and those in the business of selling cosmetics and sprucing up images will definitely be getting more clients.

Churches will also reap from this as people seek divine inspiration and consolation for the harsh economic times they are going through.

People want to look good and feel good all the time if not most of the time and a shilling that is heading south will not deter them.

Now to the bad……

As more people lose jobs,we may see an increase in petty crime as people turn to alternative but illegal forms of supporting themselves.

The price of things will definitely go up,from groceries,to school fees to medical costs will rise and t is time we prepared ourselves for the long haul.

The real estate industry that was growing by leaps and bounds will feel the effects of this the most .With building materials going up,not too many people will be looking towards owning a home.

Am sure even the land agents who had subdivided farmland for sale will see a dip in their profits and people may decide to hold onto their cash as they study the performance of the shilling.

The Nairobi stock exchange  is the best place to be if you are a long-term investor but it is a nightmare for anyone thinking short-term.

Share prices are at their  lowest,volumes are down and everyone is just watching and waiting for things to pick up…maybe after the elections.

And the really ugly…

Things are gong to get worse,with an election looming next year,everyone is to preoccupied with building alliances rather than the economy.

Sometimes it would seem it would be more interesting to watch paint dry than watch  the forex numbers coming in.

Now to some more good news…..

For companies that are seeking to reap from this crisis and still maintain their customers,the best way to go about is offer great bargains.

Make people feel they are getting the best value from their shillings.

And with this am thinking especially for supermarket chains and retail stores offer customers great deals on items that feature daily on people’s shopping lists especially if they are buying in large quantities.

discounts for items bought on wholesale will get you customers and  push up your volumes .

After all what you need are numbers.

Give discounts to your loyalty card holders,after all you do not want merchandise sitting on your shelves ,you want it to  move.

For the shoppers like me look at the way you can cut costs in your spending,eat out less,cook more at home.

Look for bargains and discounts.

Readjust your preferences and check out if they are cheaper alternatives to the products you use,from margarine to rice to detergent the choice now in Kenya is wide,save a few shillings.

Have any ideas on how we can weather out the recession,please share….