In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we explore what retail transaction data can tell us about the health of SA’s economy.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Shergeran Naidoo, head of stakeholder engagement at BankservAfrica, the largest automated payments clearing house on the continent.

Naidoo shares findings from the company’s most recent reports tracking transaction activity in SA flowing throughs their system as an intermediary between banks.

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Starting with their take-home pay index, BankservAfrica says this is marginally down 0.5% compared to the same time in 2020. Naidoo said they had noted a number of seasonal and part-time workers going back to work earlier in 2021 as the economy had started to recover. However, when compared to 2019, the figures are 3% lower, showing the effects of Covid-19 on wages and salaries.

Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.
Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.

Naidoo then takes us through the recently released monthly BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (BETI) for June. He says the BETI is a very fast and broad overview of current economic trends over a broad range of sectors, making use of economic transactions as captured by the organisation.

During the month, the company recorded more than 100-million transactions, worth more than R1-trillion through their system.

According to BankservAfrica’s data, the index was almost a quarter higher compared to June 2020, owing to the negative effects of restrictions felt during the hardest parts of the lockdown in 2020. However, June’s volumes were markedly lower compared to April and May, owing to the slowdown brought on by a move to level 4 of the lockdown, imposed to deal with the third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Naidoo also talks about the effects of the recent unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal on transactions.

The discussion explores the results of BankservAfrica’s recent transaction reports; how the various studies were conducted; buying and spending patterns in the country; insights that can be drawn from the data; and an economic outlook for the rest of the year.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a TimesLIVE Podcasts production.


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