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Optimism in South Africa has plummeted to a record low: Tumisang Ndlovu – Moneyweb

Having dropped 30% since 2013.

SIKI MGABADELI: Good evening and welcome to the SAfm Market Update with Moneyweb. My name is Siki Mgabadeli.
    We are looking at some autumn signs on the health of consumers and our economy. First, consumer credit health continued to improve in the first quarter of this year. That’s according to an index released by TransUnion – they are a credit and information management group.
    Then we are going to look at the FNB/BER Consumer Confidence survey which saw a notable decline during the first quarter, slumping to ‑4 index points during the first quarter of this year.
    Grant Thornton’s 2015 Macroeconomic and Local Business Perceptions Survey reveals that optimism in South Africa is at its lowest.
    So a bit of a mixed picture on that front. We are going to have a look at all of those.
    In our SME feature Tumisang speaks to Mogau Seshoene about her innovative business called “The Lazy Makoti”. I love that.
    David Shapiro of Sasfin is watching the markets for us today. But first, Tumisang has your business news headlines.

TUMISANG NDLOVU: Thanks, Siki. Good evening.
    Labour unions representing 1.3 million public servants will now negotiate with government on a new mandate to take wage talks forward. This follows a brief deadlock in talks after government refused to agree to the 5.8% sought by public servants. Government negotiators have also been ordered to consult their principals about a maximum offer.
    Political uncertainty, rising crime and energy constraints have been attributed as factors fuelling a decline in confidence in South Africa. According to Grant Thornton’s International Business Report, which covers the first quarter of 2015, optimism in South Africa has plummeted to a record low, having dropped 30% since 2013. CEO Andrew Hannington has highlighted the current energy crisis as the biggest challenge.

ANDREW HANNINGTON: The energy crisis in South Africa ranks as the key constraint. The second was exchange rate volatility – no certainty. And the third one is economic uncertainty. South Africa is in a very pessimistic situation compared with the Eurozone, [and] compared with the BRIC companies.

TUMISANG NDLOVU: Payments on credit cards, cellphone contracts and personal loans improved in the first quarter of this year, according to TransUnion’s consumer credit index. This indicates an improvement in consumer health, but vehicle repayments deteriorated in the same period.
    And Zimbabwe has for the first time in a decade requested financial support from the West. The development emerged in a meeting of Western diplomats and international lenders. Western unions had restricted funding from 2002 over accusations of election-rigging and human rights abuses.
    Financial indicators this hour: the rand is trading at R11.97/dollar, R18.22/pound and R13.56/euro. Gold is at $1 189.73/oz, platinum at $1 138.62 and Brent crude oil at R68.70/barrel.

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