2013 worst for consumers: report

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Consumers should use credit responsibly and live within their means, the National Credit Regulator said. File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Consumers felt they had less cash last year than in 2012, according to the MBD Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index released on Thursday.

“In fact, the CFVI shows that in 2013 consumers perceived their cash flow situation to be in the worst state since the economic recession in 2009,” it said.

MBD provides credit management solutions. The CFVI analysis was conducted by Unisa's Bureau of Market Research (BMR) on behalf of MBD.

The analysis looked at income, expenditure, savings and debt servicing sub-components.

The CFVI declined to 48.9 points in 2013 from 51.4 points in 2012.

According to the report the decline could have been even larger had it not been for some improvement in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The increase from 45.9 points in third quarter to 52 points in the fourth showed consumers felt slightly more secure towards the end of the year.

“A comparison of the actual CFVI and the seasonally adjusted CFVI shows that consumers' cash flow vulnerability is most affected during the third quarter, when seasonal factors combine to increase their savings, income and debt servicing vulnerability.”

One particular seasonal factor negatively affecting consumers' state of cash flow was labour strikes. During strikes, workers normally did not get paid, and their lower income resulted in them saving less and being unable to service debt.

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