South African small business environment, May 2017

11 months ago

In April, Statistics South Africa releases a large number of reports, detailing state of the country, across a number of sectors. We’ll look at a few sectors that are of particular interest to small businesses, including retail, liquidations and insolvencies, the producer price index, and export and import indices.

Re: Retail

Retail is in a period of decline. Retails sales were down 1.7%, year-on-year, in February 2017. The clothes trade (comprising textile, clothing, footwear, and leather goods) recorded -7.6% annual growth rate. Annual growth was negative for household furniture, appliances and equipment retailers (-6.5%), hardware, paint and glass retailers (-5.5%), and retailers categorised as ‘Other’ by StatsSA (-5.5%; these retailers include bookstores, jewellers, sports and entertainment stores, and second-hand traders).

The types of retailers that showed positive year-on-year sales were those trading in food, beverages, and tobacco in specialised stores (5.8%), general dealers (0.8%), and pharmaceuticals and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries (3.3%).

The largest retailer types, by retail sales at current prices are general dealers (R35 million in February), textiles and clothing (R11.5 million), and ‘Other’ (R7 million). Total retail sales in February 2017 came to R73.7 million.

Out of business

Liquidations rose in March 2017, compared to the same month last year. Year-on-year, liquidations rose by 17%, with a total of 188 cases recorded, comprising voluntary (174) and compulsory liquidations (14).

Businesses in the trade, catering and accommodation industry were the hardest hit by liquidations, with a total of 51 cases recorded, 13 more than the previous year. Despite the year-on-year increase in liquidations, when the first quarter of 2017 is compared to the first quarter of 2016, the number of liquidations showed a 13% decrease.

The number of insolvencies recorded in February 2017 was 13% fewer than those recorded in February 2016. This decline in insolvencies held when quarters ending in February were compared from 2016 to 2017 – a 16% decline, amounting to 105 fewer insolvencies.

Producer price index

The producer price index (PPI) is a measure of the change in the prices of goods when leaving their place of production, or the prices as the goods enter the production process.

Between March 2016 and March 2017, the PPI for final manufactured goods changed by 5.2%. The sectoral drivers of this rise were food, beverage and tobacco products, and coke, petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products.

The annual percentage change in the PPI in March 2017 for intermediate manufactured goods was 6.8 %, for electricity and water was 10.8%, for mining was 6%, and, for agriculture, forestry and fishing was -4.2%.

Import and export value

The export and import unit value indices for February 2017 shows the trends in import and export unit values recorded in South Africa. The export unit value index (UVI) for February 2017 was -3.5% compared to January 2017, but when compared to the same period last year, showed a 2.3% gain.

The UVI for imported goods increased by 0.3% compared to January 2017, but the annual rate of change was -9%. The UVI for imported metal, machinery and equipment was an annualised -6.4%, which was the largest contributor to the total decline in the index.

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