Retail Spending Whoah there!
Retail spending grew +3.8% for the month of December 2017, its highest level since the heady days of May 2013. Don’t believe us; ask Mastercard, who know a thing or two about how punters choose to blow their 13th cheques in the lead up to Christmas, and whose SpendingPulse report keeps tabs on it. If you count inflation, which at the time contributed 3.7 percentage points, sales grew 7.5% YOY, buoyed by better GDP growth, a lower inflation outlook and a stronger rand, which made gewgaws from China and the Philippines more affordable at the time. This week’s StatsSA report might tell a slightly different story, but for now we’ll take what we can get. In the meantime, fixed investments plunged in 2017 to levels last seen in 2004, as political uncertainty and a decline in business confidence prevented corporates from coughing up on infrastructure. The number of investment projects by big businesses and government dropped from 67 to 48, with a decline in value to R63bn, from R90.6bn the previous year.
Comment: Testing times, with the silver lining showing up in contrast with the massive cumulonimbi below.