Business Climate Monitor declines slightly in March
The IJG Business Climate Monitor declined slightly to 50.87 in March, however, despite the fall, the index remains above the 50-point mark, suggesting a recovery in the economy after the deep contractions witnessed in 2017.
The monitor, a report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) indicates that commodity prices remained fairly level in US dollar terms. A relatively strong rand, especially when compared to March 2017, means that spot prices are significantly lower in local currency than a year ago.
Uranium remains a particular concern, with spot prices continuing to weaken in 2018 at just US$21 per pound (N$248.85 per pound,) the lowest local currency spot price since October 2006.
“Low production levels and persistently weak prices place the future of the entire local industry in jeopardy,” the monitor noted.
Meanwhile, annual inflation remained flat at 3.5%, the result of a slowdown in prices in a number of categories, particularly the two largest: food and non-alcoholic beverages, and housing, water, electricity and other fuels.
According to the report, food inflation is down to 2.7% from 7.3% a year, as a result of decrease across all sub-groups, indicative of a recovery in the agriculture sector.
Rental payment increases slowed down to just 2.6% from 9.6% in March 2017, attributable to a weaker housing market given the recessionary climate from 2017.
Caption: Uranium remain concern, with spot prices continuing to weaken in 2018 at just US$21 per pound.