Price and technological development in SA's energy grid optimisation

The cost of generating electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar power has declined sharply in recent years. There is much evidence to suggest that these costs have become competitive to coal-fired electricity. Optimising the electricity system means that the financial and environmental costs of different forms of energy generation need to be considered, while accommodating variation in demand. This research note shows that based on recent cost trends in renewable energy and the expectation of further cost declines, it might well be cost-effective to include even more of these sou

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BER Virtual Briefing 21 August

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After rising from 10 to 24 between 2019Q1 and 2020Q1, the FNB/BER Civil Confidence Index fell to an all-time low of 5 in 2020Q2. Underlying the fall in confidence was a steep drop in activity.

The Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for July suggests that official manufacturing output should still reflect a month-on-month improvement in activity, but that levels are stabilising and that July’s increase is likely to be significantly less than those signalled by the PMI for May and June. The BUSINESS ACTIVITY INDEX (illustrated on the graph) declined slightly in July relative to the previous month, but remained at a very high level.

COVID-19 has drastically changed the already-weak economic landscape. The RMB/BER Business Confidence Index (BCI) fell to merely five points, the lowest level ever recorded since the BER first began conducting its business confidence survey in 1975.

The FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) plummeted from an already depressed level of -9 in the first quarter to a shocking -33 in the second quarter. All three of the sub-indices of the CCI declined in the second quarter. The time to buy durable goods dropped to a historic low of -64. Of all the income groups, the low-income group posted the largest decline in confidence.