Financial services one of the more positive sectors
Despite the economy contracting by 1.4percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 as all the sectors experienced decreases, finance, real estate and business services increased by 2.7percent.
The BankservAfrica’s Economic Transactions Index (BETI) for February showed that the rapidly evolving offerings from the fast-expanding South African banking sector had made it more appealing for consumers to open a new bank account.
It said the simplified application process and rewards had made this even more attractive in recent years.
Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica’s head of stakeholder engagements, said the total number of transactions were increasing to more than 101million.
Naidoo said the volume of transactions increased by 4.9percent on an annual basis in February, an improvement on January's 3.2percent growth for the same period.
“More interesting in this month's BETI is the innovation in banking that is coming through in our transaction figures. This is leading to consumers opening more than one account and increased transactions,” Naidoo said.
Chief economist at economists.co.za Mike Schüssler said it seemed that February was not as much of an economic decline as one would expect with the current load shedding.
“For now, we believe that the financial services sector and the broader banking industry have generated some economic growth. But this is not enough to lift the entire economy out of the woods,” Schüssler said.
“However, there are indications that the first quarter of 2020 could be a little better than the previous quarter. But this could change because of the coronavirus impact.”