ECONOMY: Public Holidays A Boost To Consumer Spending
Recent Western Cape Business News
Despite grumblings from certain sectors of the negative impact that the spate of public holidays in April had on the economy, latest ATM cash withdrawal statistics released by Cape Town-based Spark ATM Systems suggest that consumer spending, particularly at wholesalers, service stations and retailers, were boosted during this period.
According to the latest Spark Cash Index (SCI), which measures the average value of cash withdrawals across more than 1 500 Spark ATMs throughout the country, the average April cash withdrawal value showed a month-to-month increase of 4.03% to R435.47. The SCI also revealed a year-on-year increase of 3.02% in ATM withdrawal activity for April 2012.
Marc Sternberg, MD of Spark ATM Systems, says this is the highest average cash withdrawal value in the history of the SCI for the month of April and was boosted by a host of public, school and religious holidays. “It is also the highest average withdrawal value in six years for any month, with the exclusion of the December months, which suggests that consumers increased their spending during their time off from work in April, particularly at wholesale locations, petrol stations and retailers.
“Wholesale locations recorded an increase in ATM cash withdrawals of 5.06% in April, the largest month-on-month growth of any site category. Petrol stations recorded the second highest month-on-month growth of any site category, with an increase of 3.73%, driven by increased travel by consumers between regions during the Easter holiday period. Retail sites recorded a 3.66% month-on-month growth.”
He says that of the nine regions, Mpumalanga experienced the largest month-on-month withdrawal growth of 5.40%, which may be partly due to the increased tourism numbers the province experienced in April.
Dawie Klopper, Investment Economist at PSG Konsult, agrees that the month-on-month growth in cash withdrawals was significantly affected by the holiday month of April. “It is clear from previous cash withdrawal statistics that the same pattern has occurred in previous years,” says Klopper.
“As predicted, following the January and February 2012 withdrawal slump, consumer spending has again gathered momentum and returned to positive gains throughout March and April,” says Sternberg.
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