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Record low SA consumer confidence as job, cost pressures bite

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Rising household costs, job insecurity and “weakened state pride” are among the factors which have led to a leading economic index recording its lowest ever rate of SA consumer confidence since being launched in 1997.

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The latest BankSA State Monitor, conducted by an independent research firm, shows consumer confidence in SA dropped by 8.6 points between July and October this year, from 103.8 points to 95.2 – and an even lower 92.1 points in rural SA.

The report noted a “large decline in how consumers feel about their own household situation, lower confidence about their ability to change jobs, and weakened state pride”.

Other factors cited including unemployment levels, rising petrol prices, wages relative to cost of living and global uncertainty.

Unusually, the report was released to general media on Saturday, after being dropped to The Advertiser on Friday afternoon.

It comes after the previous survey in August, openly released on a Friday, showed the biggest fall in state business confidence in two years.

The latest report shows business confidence has continued to drop, from 115.2 points to 105.2, but “remains relatively positive despite the recent downward trend”, with business intention to expand and employ increasing for the second straight survey.

Regional SA business confidence also dropped 6.0 points, to 102.3.

Finance, community service, manufacturing and wholesale/retail industries reported the largest falls in confidence among SA businesses, with recreation the only field to report feeling more confident.

However, consumers registered “increased pessimism about the climate for consumer spending over the next 12 months, as well as lower intention to make a major purchase over the next three months such as real estate, cars, whitegoods and holidays.

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