JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s retail sales grew 2% year-on-year in March, below market expectations and lower than a revised 3.7% expansion in February.
On a month-on-month basis, sales were down 0.5%, but rose 2.5% in the three months to March compared with the same period in 2014.
In a flash comment, Nedbank’s Economic Unit said “retail sales growth is likely to remain subdued in the months ahead, as consumer spending will be contained by weak consumer confidence and pressure on household finances.
“Today’s data confirm that consumer spending, a major component of economic growth, remained subdued in the first quarter. Other recently released indicators also showed that underlying economic conditions are still relatively weak, which, together with subdued inflation, which is expected to remain within the Reserve Bank’s target range throughout the year, will probably persuade the SARB to keep rates on hold for most of 2015. The first rate hike is pencilled in for November 2015, but this will be highly dependent on the trajectories of the rand and the oil price.”