Disposable income has halved in South Africa
The real disposable income of South African households contracted by 49.7% in the second quarter of 2020, says the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) citing data from the Reserve Bank.
In a presentation ahead of finance minister Tito Mboweni’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) next week, the PBO said that household consumption also dropped markedly by 49.8% in the second quarter of 2020, following a marginal increase of 0.2% in the first quarter.
The sharp decline reflected reduced outlays on all categories of goods, the PBO said. “Spending on durable and semi-durable goods contracted the most because most were classified as non-essential during the lockdown.
“Overall, consumer spending by households contracted by 7.5% from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2020.”
The PBO said that this decline was consistent with the decline in both consumer confidence and credit extension to households.
This aligns with data from payments clearing house BankservAfrica which shows that the last few months have seen massive disruptions to the country’s average take-home pay, as a number of payments were either suspended, terminated or adjusted.
The average take-home pay in August was R14,008 in nominal terms and R11,893 in real terms. However, it is unlikely that the real average take-home pay will continue on this positive trend as the next two months had a relatively high average real take-home pay in 2019.
“A more meaningful indication of the real salary trend in South Africa at present is the average real take-home pay for the first eight months of 2019, which was R12,200 per month, indicating that the August 2020 number is nearly 2.5% lower than the same reporting period in 2019,” said economist Mike Schüssler.
The PBO’s presentation also shows that there has been a decrease in household debt in the second quarter of 2020 – its first decline since the third quarter of 2002
The ratio of household debt to disposable income increased significantly from 73.6% in the first quarter of 2020 to 85.3% in the second quarter.
“The quarter-to-quarter decline in nominal disposable income exceeded the decline in household debt.
“The outstanding balances of most categories of credit extended to households decreased during the national lockdown.
“This decline in credit extension was probably due to socioeconomic uncertainty about household saving and spending patterns.”
Data from the National Credit Regulator (NCR) from March 2020 to June 2020 shows that the number of credit agreements entered into decreased by 47.73% quarter-on-quarter from 3.93 million to 2.05 million.
In terms of credit granted for the quarter ended June 2020:
- The value of new mortgages granted decreased by R25.95 billion (66.65%) quarter-on-quarter and by R27.20 billion (67.69%) year-on-year;
- Secured credit which is dominated by vehicle finance, decreased by R18.57 billion (47.51%) quarter-on-quarter, and by R20.69 billion (50.22%) year-on-year;
- Credit facilities decreased by R9.71 billion (50.53%) quarter-on-quarter and by R11.60 billion (54.97%) year-on-year;
- Unsecured credit decreased by R15.10 billion (59.64%) quarter-on-quarter and by R18.42 billion (64.32%) year-on-year.
Meanwhile, credit bureaus held records for 26.96 million credit-active consumers, which showed a decrease of 3.69% when compared to the 27.99 million in the previous quarter.
Consumers classified in good standing decreased by 559,318 to 16.96 million consumers.
“This amounts to 62.90% of the total number of credit-active consumers, a decrease of 3.19% quarter-on-quarter and 3.65% year-on-year. The number of credit-active accounts decreased from 85.99 million to 85.23 million in the quarter ended June 2020.”