The Economy The numbers game
Bang on time and informative as always, the hoary sages over at StatsSA have released the latest retail sales numbers, which go a little something like this: the overall number increased by +3.4% year-on-year in April 2022, with the top performers being retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment at +6.8%, retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods at +6.4%; and general dealers at +5.4%. The great sector we call home, described as “Food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores” grew +2.7% YOY, with growth flat for the quarter. In other economic news, inflation jumped 6.5% in May from 5.9% in April and March, breaking through the upper limit of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range. Finally, GDP grew +1.9% in the first quarter of 2022, beating the dire prognostications of economists, with the contribution of food to the mix growing +2.5%, and household expenditure up +1.4%.
Comment: A mixed bag indeed, with good news on GDP and retail sales, but inflation – driven substantially by externalities – of greater concern.