Appointment of new BER Deputy Director

The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at Stellenbosch University is pleased to announce that Mr Craig Lemboe has been appointed as its new Deputy Director. Craig will assume his duties on 1 June 2023. He succeeds Mr George Kershoff who retired in early March 2023 after 29 years at the BER. Read more about his appointment here.

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Recent Releases

The FNB/BER Civil Confidence Index increased to a more than six-year high of 42 in 2023Q1, from 31 in 2022Q4. Sentiment has now improved for four consecutive quarters. Underpinning the improved sentiment was a marked increase in activity, which also boosted profitability.

The Absa PMI edged down to 49.2 in May 2023 from 49.8 in April. The headline index has now signalled a deterioration in business conditions for four consecutive months. In addition to the downbeat assessment of the current environment, respondents turned notably more negative about business conditions going forward.

The RMB/BER BCI declined for a fifth consecutive quarter to reach 27 in the second quarter of 2023, down by 9 points from 36 in the first quarter. The decline in confidence was on the back of another decrease in business activity, although this likely does not explain the full extent of the deterioration in sentiment.

Having recovered from -20 to -8 index points during the fourth quarter of 2022, the FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) plunged to -23 index points during the first quarter of 2023. The reading of -23 is the third lowest CCI reading on record since 1994 and indicates extreme concern among consumers about South Africa’s economic prospects and household finances.