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Magatte Wade , Economics, Africa and its Future...

Magatte Wade , Economics, Africa and its Future...

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    Story of woe contained in import stats

    South Africa's consumer woes are showing up in the container import numbers.
    Story of woe contained in import stats
    © scanrail – 123RF.com

    "For eight straight months we have seen negative growth," said Maersk Line's South Africa trade and marketing manager MattConroy on Tuesday, 18 November.

    Container imports are 7% lower than a year ago. Maersk Line handles as much as three-quarters of the container freight into South Africa.

    According to Conroy, consumers are buying less. And though the company has seen "flat growth" towards the end of the third quarter, he doubts whether this month-on-month growth is the start of a real recovery.

    The marginal improvement could be due to retailers getting ready for the festive season.

    "Does it really signify an economic turnaround or is it simply [companies] restocking? It's probably restocking," said Conroy.

    While container trade in the rest of the world is growing at a steady rate of between 3.5% and 5%, South Africa is feeling the effects of weak consumer spending due to high household debt levels and the rising cost of living.

    The rand slipped against the dollar and other major currencies this year.

    Exports have also suffered as strikes in the platinum industry and in the metals and engineering sector fed through to the numbers.

    In the short term, the export market is being affected as much as the import market, said Conroy. China, the destination for about 40% of South Africa's exports, has less of an appetite for the country's minerals, metals and wood exports than before.

    Source: The Times

    Source: I-Net Bridge

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