The South African economy
The South African economy
The confidence of the SA consumer just keeps on rising
Short term consumer confidence in South Africa has increased by nearly 30%, according to the MasterCard MasterIndex released yesterday.
The South African MasterIndex jumped from 64.4 in February 2004 to 83.5 in February this year out of a possible index of 100. This is the highest consumer confidence figure the country has seen since the MasterIndex survey began in early 2004.
Conducted bi-annually by MasterCard International in selected markets in the South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA) region, the survey analyses consumers' perceptions of economic conditions over the next six months. The countries surveyed included South Africa, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India. The scores are based on respondents' answers to questions relating to five variables: Employment, Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life.
South Africa had the greatest year-on-year improvement in consumer confidence in the SAMEA region between the first half of 2004 and the first half of 2005.
"Lower personal tax rates, low interest rates, stock market growth, employment growth and a booming property market have all added to the positive glow that South African consumers are currently experiencing," says Eddie Grobler, senior vice-president and general manager of MasterCard Southern Africa.
"From consumption to investment, jobs and the overall quality of life, the average South African has become more confident about his/her future. This is borne out by the fact that every single indicator measured in South Africa's MasterIndex showed a consistent improvement over the last six and twelve months' results," he adds.
"The rise in employment and income optimism is confirmed by the SA Employment Report which showed that jobs in the formal sector increased by 2.7% in 2004 - the highest increase in employment creation in more than a decade," says Schussler. "This, combined with South Africa's 2004 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.7% - the highest growth rate in four years - means that South Africans are feeling more confident, more often about their future."
President Thabo Mbeki used the previous MasterIndex as a barometer of South African consumer sentiment in his weekly address to the country on the ANC website.
When South Africa's MasterIndex of 83.5 is compared to the average SAMEA figure of 70.1, the Asia Pacific figure of 63.2, and the Australian MasterIndex of 61.5, the South African consumer is undeniably positive.