Gap between black and white narrowing

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

The gap between optimistic blacks and pessimistic whites is narrowing, the latest consumer confidence poll by Stellenbosch University's Bureau for Economic research found.

The sharpest drop in four years saw the CCI nearly halve from 22 in the final quarter of last year to 12, indicating the average South African remains positive.

White consumer confidence, however, has fallen one point into pessimistic territory while black consumer confidence is still at a happy 18. This is despite black consumer confidence plummeting twice as much as white consumer confidence.

Cees Bruggemans, chief economist at the survey's sponsor First National Bank, said: "The surprise for me was the reaction from white consumers.

"Given the enormous complaining of recent months, about Eskom electricity interruptions and inflation racing ahead - but also widespread political concerns, not least with Zim's example next door, one was ready for historic confidence plunging. Nothing of the sort happened."

Bruggemans said: "Both sets of consumers may again come to see events through roughly similar lenses ere long."

The middle class seem to feel the pinch of inflation and rates more than the rich and poor.