Economic index up despite strikes

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NewRandMoney Reuters.

Johannesburg - Despite strikes, power outages, and other economic constraints, the economic value of transactions showed significant monthly growth in February, according to BankservAfrica's Economic Transaction Index (BETI).

“Monthly growth in February has been a positive blip on a very negative year-on-year radar screen,” BankservAfrica regulated products chief executive Brad Gillis said on Wednesday.

Economist Mike Schüssler said this might be due to suppliers re-stocking after the Christmas season “and, as usual, the effect of the strike action will only show up a little later in the BETI”.

The index confirmed that low confidence and constraints in the economy were still taking its toll on actual economic activity.

Schüssler said the BETI affirmed that the economy wanted to recover but simply had too much stacked against it as new car sales were declining at a slower rate than in January.

Gillis said the year-on-year data remained flat despite the strong monthly growth in February.

“The year-on-year increase in the BETI has remained below 1.5 percent for six months in a row. Therefore, the strong month-on-month growth of 1.1 percent is certainly not a trend.”

He said there was evidence that the South African economy was avoiding a recession, as the quarterly growth was the strongest since April 2013. - Sapa

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