Advertise with fastmoving.co.za
 
 

Consumers may shift their spending away from luxuries and allocate it towards essentials as economic conditions worsen.
Consumers may shift their spending away from luxuries and allocate it towards essentials as economic conditions worsen.

Consumers opt for bare necessities as SA heads for recession

ECONOMIC NEWS

By Lameez Omarjee - Apr 13th 2017, 10:33

Consumers may shift their spending away from luxuries and allocate it towards essentials as economic conditions worsen, says an analyst. 

Data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released on Wednesday indicate that the annual rate of retail sales declined by 1.7% in February 2017. The main contributors to the annual decline include reduced sales in textiles, clothing, footwear, and leather goods by 7.6%.

There was also a 6.5% decline in household furniture, appliances and equipment. Hardware, paint and glass sales declined 5.5%.

FNB economist Jason Muscat said this might signal sales of durable and semi-durable goods will shrink in the first quarter of the year. He added consumers are more likely to allocate disposable income to “essential” household items.

“With the hope of rate cuts having all but evaporated since the downgrade, we expect another tough year for consumers despite a moderating inflation profile,” he said. However, this may translate into consumers taking on less debt. “We anticipate the shock to confidence, and ultimately consumption will lead to further household deleveraging.”

Muscat added that the declining rate also supports FNB’s view that the country is entering a technical recession. He explained that the sales growth of 0.8% since January 2017, an improvement from the 1.2% contraction from the previous month, was overshadowed by the quarterly contraction of 1.3%.

Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings, however, said the 1.3% quarterly decline was worrying. “[This] is the worst quarterly performance in retail sales since the global financial market crisis.”

Lings explained that the decline in the quarter may be exaggerated due to the “Black Friday” sales in November 2016, which was included in the previous quarter’s data. In November 2016, retails sales jumped 3%, mainly due to “Black Friday”.

He also pointed out that the declining retail and manufacturing data shows that South Africa is slipping into a technical recession. The mining and agriculture sector should perform better for the country to avoid a recession, he explained.

Retail sales aren’t expected to improve for the rest of the year with Stanlib projecting a decline of 0.5% in 2017. Consumers will be facing the impact of tax hikes, the delayed impact of interest rate hikes, a higher fuel price and weak confidence levels.

Fin24.com 

Related News

Slight upturn in prospects for SA 2019/2020 stone fruit exports
16/10/2019 - 10:11
The latest forecast for South Africa's stone fruit season points to improved volumes compared to last year although the continued effects of drought in some areas and adverse weather during pollination has impacted the full potential, an industry body said on Tuesday.

SA economy at risk of third-quarter contraction
11/10/2019 - 09:54
Dismal mining and manufacturing figures for August have raised the prospect of a third-quarter economic contraction.

SA's economy enters 70th month of downward cycle
09/10/2019 - 15:50
South Africa’s economy remains stuck in its longest downward cycle since 1945, adding to pressure on the government to implement reforms to lift business confidence and boost growth.

Stats SA’s seasonal adjustment models are part of regular rebasing
08/10/2019 - 10:53
Every year, SA’s economic activity peaks in the fourth quarter (October-December). On the production (or industry) side of GDP, this pattern is driven mainly by three industries: manufacturing; trade, catering and accommodation; and transport, storage, and communication.

Big business urges reforms to help SA economy
02/10/2019 - 13:17
Big business has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to act urgently and implement short- and medium-term reforms and prioritise growth-enhancing policies to kickstart the economy.