In the wake of the recession that hit South Africa hard from 2008 to 2009, the market and consumer confidence seems to be slowly but surely strengthening. Even though the annual growth rate of the country is expected to remain below 3%, there appears to be more confidence in the recovery of economic stability. The question remains though – is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Analysts fear that there is no prospect of world markets returning to ‘normal’ any time soon.
The International Monetary Fund provides the indication for economic analysts to gauge the financial future of the markets. The IMF predicted a lowered world growth this year and into 2013 in anticipation of Europe’s debt-riddled troubles. Europe’s growth is predicted to hover around 1.2% until the later part of 2013 when it is expected to rise slightly to 1.9%. South African growth projections were reduced to 2.5% from an initially anticipated 3.6% due to the country’s dependence on European trading partners. Should South Africa be able to initiate some internal economic growth the nation may show the same promise as other African countries. Nigeria, Angola and Zambia in particular showed growth rates close to 5% annually.
The recent unrest among the labouring forces of South Africa, and in particular the Marikana tragedy and the government’s subsequent paralysis with effectively dealing with it, has left local and foreign investors uncertain about the country’s future and stability.
There are, luckily, some subtle indicators that the economy is growing, albeit slowly. The banks have reported a steady increase in the amount of credit extended to private lenders. While house prices have remained fairly immobile, they have kept pace with the inflation rate. It is expected that asset-based sales, like purchasing of property, will increase once the public feels safe to get involved with risk-based investments over and above their monthly expenditure. Luckily interest rates are remaining minimal as this liberates funds for local development. Even the Reserve Bank has seen an increase of 25% of hard cash supply in the last two years, with no signs of growth being stunted any time soon.
Along with other factors, these elements are ensuring that the South African economy is growing and developing. And, while many doom-and-gloom analysts will tell you that there is no chance of markets returning to their previous states, it may just be possible. Should the country maintain its slow growth rate it will inevitably reach a more stable and sustainable plateau.
Once consumer confidence is rehabilitated, the South African economy, and by extent the property market, may recover significantly enough that the public will be confident and expectant once more.