Consumer confidence plummeted in the first quarter of 2019 to levels last seen during the death throes of Jacob Zuma's presidency. The consumer confidence index (CCI), compiled by FNB and the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch University, fell sharply to two index points in the first quarter of 2019 from seven in the second half of 2018, suggesting that most consumers were neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the outlook for the SA economy and their own household finances. This is in stark contrast to the first quarter of 2018 when consumer sentiment soared to a record high of 26 after President Cyril Ramaphosa took over from Zuma. However, it remains higher than the depressed levels recorded between 2015 and 2017. Economists polled by macroeconomics website Trading Economics expected the index to fall to six points. “The deterioration in consumer sentiment during the first quarter mirrors the drop in business confidence and points to dismal growth in consumer spendin...

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