Filomena Scalise

Cape Town - The household sector has continued to deteriorate, despite slight economic improvement in the second quarter of 2014, FNB said on Wednesday.

Statistics related to the household/consumer sector showed a weaker second quarter performance, “a key risk in these times of heightened social tensions”, said FNB household and property sector strategist John Loos.

Statistics SA on Tuesday said South Africa's economy grew by 0.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, compared to a 0.6 percent decrease in the real Gross Domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter.

The GDP is the total value of goods and services produced in an economy in a certain time period.

Loos looked at the statistics for retail and wholesale trade, catering and accommodation.

“The second quarter GDP data provided little in the way of surprises for this sector, as it went into its first quarter-on-quarter annualised decline/contraction since the second quarter of 2009,” he said.

“... its year-on-year growth rate also declined from the first quarter's 2.1 percent to 1.4 percent, reflecting the continuation of a lengthy broad slowdown in year-on-year growth since late 2011.”

Loos said the slower growth in the retail and wholesale trade sector probably reflected a drop in the real household disposable income growth.

Year-on-year growth in the total domestic nominal wage bill slowed from 7.2 percent in the first quarter of this year to 6.5 percent in the second quarter.

“In addition, the current poor level of GDP growth, along with the relatively high wage bill/GDP ratio, does not appear to be an environment in which there will be major employment growth,” he said.

It was more likely to be one of labour shedding.

While Loos remained cautious, he said any improvement in overall economic growth should be welcomed. - Sapa