After gaining 4 points in 2017Q4, the FNB/BER Civil Confidence Index fell to a record low of 12 in 2018Q1. The current index level means that close to ninety per cent of respondents are dissatisfied with prevailing business conditions.

The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped back below the neutral 50-point mark in March after encouraging improvements during the first two months of the year. The index shed 3.9 points to reach a level of 46.9 in March from 50.8 in February.

The RMB/BER Business Confidence Index (BCI) jumped by 11 points from 34 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 45 in the first quarter of 2018. An increase of such magnitude is rare: since 1975, the BCI rose by 11 points or more on only 15 occasions. If sustained, the first quarter rise implies a much-improved economic growth performance this year and next, relative to 2017’s 1.3% GDP expansion.

Having slumped from -5 in the first quarter of 2017 to -9 during the second quarter, the FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) remained low at -8 index points in the fourth quarter of 2017. Consumer are slightly more positive about the outlook for the domestic economy, but remain downbeat with respect to their own financial position. Low consumer confidence levels point to a low willingness to spend among consumers.

Economic indicators

Key indicators

Sat Apr 21 2018 23:01:49

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Last updated: Fri Apr 20 2018 16:46:22

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Please note

REFLECTIONS ON 25 YEARS OF ENGAGEMENT WITH THE LAND QUESTION IN SOUTH AFRICA

The land question is now top of mind and we think our clients and subscribers will find this useful.  This sobering information on the land question by the BER director Prof Johann Kirsten (in his inaugural lecture delivered on 21 November 2017) is available to download here.

Recent releases

Global geo-political concerns continued to dominate the news flow last week. Whereas the concerns about a trade war between the US and China eased after conciliatory remarks by the Chinese President, the situation in Syria continues to damage relations between the US and Russia. On the domestic front, manufacturing and mining data for February suggest that the contribution of these sectors to overall GDP growth in 2018Q1 will be limited, if not negative. This adds to the likelihood that quarterly GDP growth will slow significantly relative to the robust 2017Q4 print. Meanwhile, on the international front, higher US headline CPI in March confirmed the view of monetary authorities at the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that underlying price pressure is building. ...Get it here

Global growth moved from strength to strength in 2017, with activity picking up in most country groupings. However, amidst political infighting and policy uncertainty SA was in no position to take advantage of the upturn in global growth. Developments since the ANC elective conference in December 2017 have led to increased optimism that overall economic activity might surprise on the upside going forward....Get it here

A short summary of the BER’s latest macroeconomic forecast. Global growth moved from strength to strength in 2017, with activity picking up in most country groupings. However, amidst political infighting and policy uncertainty SA was in no position to take advantage of the upturn in global growth. Developments since the ANC elective conference in December 2017 have led to increased optimism that overall economic activity might surprise on the upside going forward....Get it here

Monthly survey of leading South African economists who forecast key macroeconomic variables....Get it here

Comprehensive economic statistics handbook. The latest South African and international economic data is presented in tables and graphs. Sectoral trends are also displayed....Get it here

International news headlines were dominated by escalating trade tensions between the US and China last week. This also had a bearing on domestic financial markets. More on this in the markets section.The focus of the domestic section is on the Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March. The PMI suggests that the manufacturing sector may have come under renewed pressure as slower export growth weighed on overall demand. Furthermore, other data showed that domestic new vehicles sales ticked up slightly in March, but that vehicle exports declined for a second month. In the international section, we unpack the latest PMI figures from the US, China and the Eurozone as well as the latest US job numbers (the nonfarm payroll report). The nonfarm payrolls disappointed and significantly undershot the consensus forecast. ...Get it here

Inflation expectations for both 2018 and 2019 declined across all social groups relative to the previous quarter. The average for 2018 declined from 5.7% to 5.2% and for 2019 from 5.9% to 5.3%. Inflation is expected to edge up marginally to 5.4% in 2020....Get it here

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Fact sheet of key monthly economic data and financial market indicators. The release accompanies the BER's economic forecast report, Economic Prospects....Get it here

The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped back below the neutral 50-point mark in March after encouraging improvements during the first two months of the year. The index shed 3.9 points to reach a level of 46.9 in March from 50.8 in February. ...Get it here

Forecast publications

Global growth moved from strength to strength in 2017, with activity picking up in most country groupings. However, amidst political infighting and policy uncertainty SA was in no position to take advantage of the upturn in global growth. Developments since the ANC elective conference in December 2017 have led to increased optimism that overall economic activity might surprise on the upside going forward....Get it here

Global growth moved from strength to strength in 2017, with activity picking up in most country groupings. However, amidst political infighting and policy uncertainty SA was in no position to take advantage of the upturn in global growth. Developments since the ANC elective conference in December 2017 have led to increased optimism that overall economic activity might surprise on the upside going forward....Get it here

Excel sheets summarising the forecasts published in the latest issues of Economic Prospects (2-year quarterly forecast) and Economic Outlook (6-year annual forecast). Where possible, the forecast sheets have been updated with the latest available information.

...Get it here

Excel sheets summarising the forecasts published in the latest issues of Economic Prospects (2-year quarterly forecast) and Economic Outlook (6-year annual forecast). Where possible, the forecast sheets have been updated with the latest available information.

...Get it here

Given the lack of visibility on politics and the recent negative experience, we have stuck to a conservative medium-term real GDP growth outlook of only 1.6%....Get it here

The repercussions of President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle on March 31, and the subsequent credit rating downgrades, are likely to be felt through the medium-term forecast period (2017 to 2022). These developments will undoubtedly further constrain the medium-term prospects for the SA economy. Indeed, notable forecast adjustments include that we now expect almost no increase in SA per capita GDP over the next six years and slippage on fiscal debt metrics....Get it here

Snapshot

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Graphs of the latest monthly and quarterly South African economic and financial data. The focus is on the essential indicators to give the reader a quick overview of general economic conditions....Get it here

Weekly

Global geo-political concerns continued to dominate the news flow last week. Whereas the concerns about a trade war between the US and China eased after conciliatory remarks by the Chinese President, the situation in Syria continues to damage relations between the US and Russia. On the domestic front, manufacturing and mining data for February suggest that the contribution of these sectors to overall GDP growth in 2018Q1 will be limited, if not negative. This adds to the likelihood that quarterly GDP growth will slow significantly relative to the robust 2017Q4 print. Meanwhile, on the international front, higher US headline CPI in March confirmed the view of monetary authorities at the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that underlying price pressure is building. ...Get it here

International news headlines were dominated by escalating trade tensions between the US and China last week. This also had a bearing on domestic financial markets. More on this in the markets section.The focus of the domestic section is on the Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March. The PMI suggests that the manufacturing sector may have come under renewed pressure as slower export growth weighed on overall demand. Furthermore, other data showed that domestic new vehicles sales ticked up slightly in March, but that vehicle exports declined for a second month. In the international section, we unpack the latest PMI figures from the US, China and the Eurozone as well as the latest US job numbers (the nonfarm payroll report). The nonfarm payrolls disappointed and significantly undershot the consensus forecast. ...Get it here

Global and domestic financial markets had a lot to digest last week. The US central bank’s latest policy interest rate hike, as well as the guidance of future monetary tightening, dominated international headlines. Furthermore, the narrative surrounding the threat of global trade wars intensified after the US announced broadbased measures to curb imports from China. While these events had an impact on SA financial markets, local attention was more focused on Moody’s credit rating decision. ...Get it here

Domestic economic data released last week was broadly upbeat. Manufacturing and mining output figures for January showed that annual growth in these sectors edged higher. In addition, business confidence in 2018Q1 registered its best level since the beginning of 2015. On the international front, data from the US revealed continued soft retail sales growth in February. In addition, markets will this week keep a keen eye on the FOMC announcement as well as Moody’s decision regarding SA’s sovereign debt rating....Get it here

In the domestic section, the focus is on the latest GDP growth data. Not only did the 2017Q4 figure surprise on the upside, but major data revisions to the historic data series meant that 2016’s growth rate was also revised higher. The revisions resulted in significant changes in the composition of GDP growth over the past few years, which could have important implications for the growth pattern going forward. In the international section, the latest US job figures as well as US and Chinese trade data are unpacked. The stark difference between the US and China’s trade balances is one of the key reasons for President Donald Trump’s renewed focus on trade protectionism. US job figures were robust, although wage growth slowed. This boosted global stock markets – more on this in the markets section. ...Get it here

Domestic data released last week was somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand, SA’s trade deficit ballooned to its worst level on record in January, while vehicle export data for February also remained depressed. However, on the positive side, the Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) managed to edge above the neutral 50-point mark for the first time since May 2017. These releases, as well as factory-gate inflation figures, are discussed in the domestic section. In the international section we also look at inflation figures, but from the consumer side. Furthermore, the section unpacks US Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell’s first statement to congress and PMI data from China. ...Get it here