THE level of credit uptake and consumers’ appetite for big ticket purchases in the form of new vehicles will come under the spotlight this week.
The South African Reserve Bank will release the December 2011 private sector credit extension figures today.
Economists expect consumers to have taken on more credit during the December 2011 festive season.
Nedcor securities retail analyst Syd Vianello said last week that clothing retailers like Truworths and Foschini have been driving credit growth.
Analysts and economists predicted that overall, retailers registered less-than-desirable festive season sales in December 2011.
Standard Bank senior economist Thabi Leoka expects the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) to report an improved new vehicle sales figure for January 2012.
The growth in December 2011 was buoyed by consistently low interest rates and consumers’ higher disposable income.
“January is seasonally a stronger sales month as buyers postpone buying into the new year to retain the resale values on new cars,” Leoka said.
The state of the production side of the economy will also come under the spotlight with the release of the latest Kagiso Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which is a key indicator of the health of the manufacturing sector.
The Index dipped into negative territory in December 2011, coming in at 49,4 points.
A level of above 50 indicates that the sector is expanding.
Although Leoka expects the PMI to improve, she added that the sector is unlikely to expand significantly in 2012 due to a lack of foreign demand.