No stopping the shopping

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

A consumer-confidence survey by the global card issuer, MasterCard, has found that South Africans' appetite for shopping had increased despite higher interest rates.

South Africa's consumer confidence index rose to 83,7 for the first half of this year from 80,7 in the second half of last year. The latest index was, however, slightly lower than the 86,5 in the corresponding period last year.

A senior economist at T-Sec, Mike Schussler, who headed the local research for MasterCard, warned that the poll was done in October before Eskom's power outages caused widespread pessimism.

"Headlines of mines cutting jobs because of electricity rationing have probably made South Africans a lot less confident of their regular income than the 89 index points measured in October.

"People stuck in cars for hours when the traffic lights go dead would now rate their 'quality of life' far lower than the 82,9 scored then," Schussler said.

MasterCard polls citizens of major cities who have bank accounts on their confidence in the coming six months of being employed, getting a regular income, and their quality of life.

It also asks them about their view on the economy and the stock market.

The report ranks South African consumer confidence against six other economies in the South Asia, Middle East and Africa region.

Kuwait scored the highest with 93,3 and war-ravaged Lebanon the worst with 38,7.

South Africa was knocked into fourth place by a surge of confidence among Indian consumers.