SA consumers remain bleak over rising inflation, rates

South African consumer confidence remained in the doldrums in the third quarter, weighed down by rising inflationary pressures and lending costs.

A quarterly index measuring sentiment rose to minus 20, from minus 25 in the previous three-months, with the removal of all remaining coronavirus restrictions contributing to the marginal improvement, FirstRand Ltd.’s First National Bank said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The index has been negative for 13 straight quarters, the longest stretch since the series began in 1982.

“Consumer confidence in general remains very low and not conducive to healthy growth in real consumer spending,” FNB said. “Mounting inflationary and interest-rate pressures coupled with dismal consumer confidence point to a significant deterioration” in spending, especially on durable goods, it said.

Sentiment improved most among low-income earners, mainly due to the government extending the payment of welfare grants and increasing the number of those who are eligible.

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