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SA economy is seeing massive bounceback – BankservAfrica

But the recovery is uneven and more of a move back to the pre-Covid-19 level.
People are spending more, but the record rise is off a low base. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

The South African economy is seeing a massive bounceback according to data from BankservAfrica.

According to the BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (Beti), the country recorded its “highest and fastest growth level ever” in April when it grew 25.9% in real terms on a year-on-year basis.

Though impressive, this rise does not tell the whole story, as the Beti had fallen 15.3% in the corresponding period in 2020. Back then, SA was going through the hard lockdown, which resulted in large parts of the economy shutting down for weeks.

Source: BankservAfrica and

Beti measures monthly transactions paid into the South African National Payments System, and in April there were 109 million transactions valued at R1.03 trillion.

By comparison, in April 2020 there were 90 million transactions valued at R679 billion. The steepness of the drop-off can be seen in the number of transactions in March 2020 being 103 million valued at R819 billion.

BankservAfrica notes that the record rise is off a low base.

“These impressive figures do not reflect overall economic growth,” it says.

“Instead, it signals the massive economic recovery to a more normal, pre-Covid-19 state over the last year. We’re likely to see this recur in the May 2021 data.”

Mike Schüssler, chief economist at, concurs.

“Although the Beti figure is welcomed, it does not reflect overall substantive growth,” he says. “Instead, it signals the massive economic recovery to a more normal, pre-Covid-19 state over the last year.”

Low rates helping

Even so, BankservAfrica says the bounceback will continue as long as low rates and government deficit spending keep money flowing through the economy.


Even though the economy still has long way to go, the rate of recovery has surprised BankservAfrica.

“The economy is indeed growing, but it is unlikely to surpass its previous high of 2019. More certain, however, is that the recovery is at a rate faster than one would have expected.”

Schüssler agrees: “All in all, the Beti simply indicates that the economic recovery is fast and vastly better than one would have hoped for.”

Some sectors still struggling

Even so, the impact of the Covid crisis has led to an uneven recovery.

“The overall economy is not fully back on track. Critical sectors such as travel and tourism, entertainment and leisure are not in full operation.”

BankservAfrica warns that the recovery, despite its strength, is also vulnerable.

“Even though the Beti indicates economic transactions are steaming ahead, power outages could put a drag on the economy. Some of the government financial assistance will fade in the next month or two, giving a clearer picture of the SA economy.”

It adds that the higher rate of inflation as a result of rising energy prices could also dampen economic activity.

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It’s like a comment at the top of magic mountain roller coaster ride, when you know that the world’s biggest downturn is just weeks away.

That is all the unions need to hear to insist on an increase, never mind the mountain if debt !

We need some good news so let’s enjoy it.

I love the smell of Delusion in the morning…

I suppose the reason we go to the data is we cannot go on our feelings in that our own experience is humanly biased and does not reflect the overall picture. However data can also be misleading, proof of this is this Covid Data experience we all had.

Even considering the above I cannot help but think and feel that there is a disconnect between the data and what is actually happening on the ground !!!!

” SA economy is seeing massive bounceback – BankservAfrica

But the recovery is uneven and more of a move back to the pre-Covid-19 level”

Yeah right…the pre-covid level was dynamic

The keywords are: “Year on Year”

In April 2020 we are in HARD LOCKDOWN!!! That was Level 5 if I was not mistaken.

What a lovely baseline to compare to, ie only those with a very short memory will take this seriously.

The small companies were decimated. I have walked through many Malls and shopping centres where 25 to 30% of the occupants are gone.

Let’s be happy in one way, but realistic as well. At least it is not a complete and utter plunge into the Abyss of doom, but with the ducks breaking wind in the reeds about a ‘third wave’ we might be close!

u got that 100% about vacant shops , same in my hood , very sad . that is real people losing real money (savings) , not like Steinhoff etc who still pay themselves big bucks and show the finger to investors

Just unfortunate that an unprecedented global fin market crash is imminent and cannot be prevented by better than expected economic results. The tables have turned. Good news has become bad news for fin markets. The next bear market will wipe most of the gains since the last financial crisis. The catalyst will be rising inflation as a result of monetary stimulus which have created the biggest asset bubble in history.

End of comments.





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