By Alec Hogg
The establishment has welcomed the results of the election in the Netherlands. Some are trumpeting the beginning of the end of populism – that the Dutch have seen Brexit and Trump and turned away from it.
Those hopes are premature. Holland’s centre right Liberal party, the apparent voice of reason, lost a quarter of the seats won five years ago. Its far right anti-Muslim challenger gained significantly on 2012. The swing might have been more moderate than feared, but still reflects a worrying trend.
Europe’s next bellwether comes in France next month, where far right candidate Marine le Pen fancies her chances of becoming President – and starting the road towards Frexit. Then there’s the prospect of something similar in Italy. Followed by a tense German vote in September.
Uncertainty in Europe is weighing heavily on the Union’s currency just like Brexit is hurting the Sterling. Against that, SA’s depressing reality of a stagnant economy and high unemployment is a known. Hence, paradoxically, the recent strength of the Rand. Which proves once again that investors hate uncertainty more than anything else.