Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The number of banking transactions done in SA broke the 100-million barrier for the first time in March, BankservAfrica reported on Wednesday.

While the volume of transactions has grown steadily for nine months in a row, the total value of transactions grew in March after a period of decline.

"This improvement can be attributed to the stronger purchases ahead of the VAT increase on April 1," BankservAfrica said.

The company, which acts as an electronic clearing house for the banking industry, publishes the monthly BankservAfrica economic transaction index (BETI), which it describes as the "broadest and earliest business cycle indicator on the economic calendar and gives the fastest overview of South African growth trends".

Economists.co.za chief economist Mike Schüssler, who does the survey on behalf of BankservAfrica, said: "These figures support the view that the second-longest downward phase of the South African business cycle seems to be coming to an end.

"The improved BETI — on both a monthly and quarterly basis — suggests an upturn to the economic cycle is imminent."

Schüssler warned that a decline could come in April owing to the VAT increase.

The number of transactions increased by more than 6% on a year-on-year basis for nine months in a row, BankservAfrica’s head of stakeholder engagement, Shergeran Naidoo, said.

"The last three months have shown growth of over 9% in the number of transactions. On a month-on-month basis, the BETI increased 0.4%, and 0.3% on a quarter-on-quarter basis," Naidoo said.