Bloomberg News

South Africa Credit Rose Less Than Forecast on Low Spending

November 29, 2011

(Updates with comment from analyst in third paragraph.)

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- South African credit rose 5.5 percent in October from a year ago, less than economists forecast, as concern of a recession in Europe led consumers and businesses to borrow less.

Credit growth by the private sector accelerated from a revised 5.4 percent in September, the Pretoria-based Reserve Bank said on its website today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 16 economists was 5.7 percent.

“The numbers have been fairly underwhelming for some time,” Dennis Dykes, chief economist of Nedbank Group Ltd. said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg today. “You have customers holding back to some degree because of all the uncertainty. And on the other side you have banks being constrained by the impending regulatory demands.”

Consumer confidence remained near a two-year low in the third quarter while business confidence dropped as the European debt crisis threatened to derail the recovery in Africa’s largest economy. The National Treasury and Reserve Bank have reduced their forecasts for economic growth this year. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has said the region is heading toward a “mild recession.”

The rand gained 0.8 percent to 8.3244 against the dollar at 8:54 a.m. in Johannesburg. The yield on the benchmark R157 bond due in 2015 was little changed at 7 percent.

Interest Rates

The statistics office may say today the economy grew an annualized 1.8 percent in the third quarter from 1.3 percent in the previous three months, according to the median estimate of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The government has forecast the economy needs to expand 7 percent a year to meet a pledge to create 5 million jobs by 2020.

Today’s data may give the Reserve Bank room to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a 30-year low of 5.5 percent to help support the economy. The rate has been kept on hold since November 2010.

The broad M3 measure of money supply rose 7.3 percent in October from a year earlier, up from 6.8 percent in September, the central bank said. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was for M3 to expand 6.7 percent.

--Editors: Hilton Shone, Nasreen Seria, Karl Maier

To contact the reporter on this story: Andres R. Martinez in Johannesburg at amartinez28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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