BER Data Spotlight

It has been over a month since StatsSA started releasing the initial findings from Census 2022. In this short presentation we take a longitudinal view and analyse trends in relation to population, housing, service delivery and education.

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After gaining two points in 2023Q3, the FNB/BER Civil Confidence Index reverted back to the level of 41 in 2023Q4. The current reading means that almost 60% of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions. The sub-indices, however, especially growth in activity and overall profitability, were more upbeat than in 2023Q3

The Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose by 2.8 index points to 48.2 in November. This was the first increase following two months of a decline in the headline index, although the index failed to return to positive terrain. Indeed, the business activity and new sales orders indices both still point to declining activity and demand, albeit at a slower rate than before.

The RMB/BER Business Confidence Index (BCI) slipped by two points to 31 in the fourth quarter of 2023. This means that less than a third of respondents to the survey were satisfied with prevailing business conditions. Business confidence was largely unchanged in three of the sectors, but a 15-point rise in retail confidence was outweighed by a steep 24-point drop in the confidence of new vehicle dealers, resulting in overall confidence edging down.

Having recovered from -25 index points during the second quarter of 2023 to -16 in the third quarter, the FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) edged slightly lower to -17 index points in the fourth quarter. Although consumer sentiment remained higher compared to the very low levels recorded during the first half of 2023, the latest reading of -17 is the lowest festive-season consumer confidence reading in more than two decades.