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Friday, 13 May 2022 22:37

40% of the 8,351 new Covid-19 cases recorded in Gauteng.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 8,351 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,879,434.

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (40%), followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal (19%). Western Cape accounted for 18%; Eastern Cape accounted for 7%; Free State accounted for 6%; Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape each accounted for 3% respectively; and Limpopo accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.

This increase represents a 22.5% positivity rate.

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is (22.5%), and is lower than yesterday (23.1%). The 7-day average is (24.1%) today, and is lower than yesterday (24.7 %).

Today, the NDoH reports *114 deaths and of these 3 deaths occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours. The cumulative COVID-19 deaths are 100,744 to date.

*As per the NDoH, please be advised that North West reported 92 retrospective deaths today due to data cleaning and the Free State reported 11 retrospective deaths today. Some of the retrospective deaths only merged with the cumulative case line list recently, due to incorrect names and surnames that were captured on the DATCOV system.

Two years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, an array of lockdowns and disruptions in various forms resulted in extremely volatile spending behaviour from consumers, says Isana Cordier, head of consumer goods and services sector coverage at Absa.

Cordier said that while the reality of job losses and economic pressure on consumers was anticipated, Absa struggled to see evidence of this in its merchant spending and card issuing data. However, patterns are now starting to emerge.

"Looking at mobility data specifically, we can see a clear trend starting to emerge. It is evident from this data source that the overall retail footfall to malls has been on a downward trend for the past two years since January 2020, whilst online retail search has stabilised since the initial increase witnessed, albeit at a higher level than at the onset of the pandemic."

Data from Absa's Merchant Spend Analytics up to March 2022 tells a story of a consumer that was holding firm, with increased spending in categories across the board since lockdowns eased, the consumer expert said.

"However, we recognise the gap in the data is the cash trading in the system, and that cash is more difficult to track, bearing in mind that South Africa has a large cash economy.

"In our Absa Cash Collection business, we have however identified a similar trend to that witnessed in the mobility data, showing a decline in cash volumes processed, giving rise to a potential warning sign pertaining to the consumer's financial health.

And, during the month of April Absa picked up on negative growth in its merchant spending data in some categories including groceries, "raising a further flag to our concern," said Cordier.

"The data, although still very limited, could suggest that economic pressure on consumers is mounting. Further pressure in terms of the fuel price hikes and the cost pressure building in the supply chains as a result, certainly paints a bleak picture on consumer health and economic outlook for South Africa."

Absa said that South Africa's recovery from the impact of lockdowns looks like it might be a difficult one for the majority of consumers, especially because of the compounding effect of the interest rate hikes as well as the increasing fuel and energy prices.

"In summary, it seems the chicken has come home to roost," said Cordier.