Press release: For immediate release
Date: 13 April 2016
‘Economy still growing, but at subdued rate’
BETI shows slight improvement on a year ago, but below February numbers
The March 2016 BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (BETI) showed a slight improvement on March 2015, but was significantly more modest than the February numbers. In February the month-on-month change was a very strong 2.2%.
The BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (BETI) measures South African payment system transactions, smaller than R5 million, giving a broad picture of the current South African economy.
“The March monthly change is a mere 0.4%, while the year-on-year change jumped up to 0.8%. This is because weak data from last year impacting on the calculation for the annual change,” explains Dr Caroline Belrose, Head of Knowledge and Risk Services at BankservAfrica.
Mike Schüssler, Chief Economist at Economists dotcoza, said the data for March this year is effected by the three public holidays that fell during the month, compounded by an early Easter. “Taking these holidays into account, we expected the March data to be a little stronger, while the opposite effect should be visible in April,” says Schüssler.
The BETI indicates that modest growth is still supporting the economy, with some decline seen in occasional months. “Essentially, this is typical stagnation, as economic growth remains weaker than population growth, meaning the average person is getting poorer,” explains Schüssler.
The actual underlying trend is for growth of less than 1% in the first quarter of 2016 despite the extra leap year day in February. The effect of the drought and the lower commodity prices are still impacting the economy, although the effect is likely to deepen as but many of these effects have yet to reflect on growth.
“When compared to March last year, the number of transactions grew by 3.7%, but the average value of the transactions declined by 1.1% to R8 451,” says Belrose. “The total actual transaction value was up 2.5% in nominal terms."
Bankserv cautions that while the South African economy is likely to show modest growth, given the weak January figures and the earlier-than-usual Easter holidays a decline cannot be ruled out in the first quarter of 2016.
The two-year trend of weak growth and stagnation continues, and economic growth forecasts are very likely to decline further.
Ends Contact Wendy Fourie for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or (011) 497 4119.
Notes to the Editor:
The BETI stands for the BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index. BankservAfrica is a payment enabling organisation operating between the various South African banks with a very secure messaging environment in place. Economists dotcoza is an economic consultancy that helped develop the BETI.
The BETI is a very fast and broad overview of current economic trends over a broad range of sectors, making use of economic transactions as captured by BankservAfrica. Like the Swift Index, the BETI is considered a “now-cast” number as a result of its speedy ability to convey the overall economic conditions to the market. Where most economic indicators can take anything between 38 and 76 days to become public knowledge, now-cast indicators take less than a month after the facts were revealed to come to the market.
The BETI is also the broadest of the “now-cast” indicators to come to the market, as it covers economic transactions across the whole economy. Very big distortive economic transactions do not form part of the BETI. This is also on its own a trend-strengthening indicative factor.
BankservAfrica is a payment enabling organisation which sits between the various South African banks. The organisation has a very secure messaging environment in place.