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Recent Releases

Business sentiment among civil contractors remained in the doldrums in 2019Q2. After falling to an all-time record low of 10 in 2019Q1, the FNB/BER Civil Confidence index edged a mere one point higher to 11 in 2019Q2.

The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined to 45.7 index points in August, down from 52.1 in July. While the magnitude of the decline may have been larger than anticipated, a fall in the PMI in August was not totally unexpected. This followed on July’s surprisingly solid reading despite the weak domestic demand environment and growing concerns about the health of the global economy.

The FNB/BER Building Confidence Index fell to a multi-year low of 22 in 2019Q3, from 29 in 2019Q2. The current level of the index indicates that close to 80 per cent of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions. Five of the six sub-sectors surveyed reported lower confidence, led by a 22- index-point drop in building sub-contractor confidence. In contrast, building material manufacturer confidence increased to 39.

After wilting during the first quarter of 2019, the FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) recovered slightly during 2019Q2. Following the shock implementation of stage 4 load shedding by Eskom during the first quarter, significantly fewer blackouts during the second quarter probably heartened some consumers. More importantly, the opportunity to vote in South Africa’s 6th democratic election since the end of apartheid most likely buoyed consumers’ hopes for the future. However, household budgets remain constrained by higher personal income taxes, sharp fuel and electricity price hikes and rising unemployment rates. All in all, we expect a further deterioration in real consumer spending growth during 2019.