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StatsSA: Fear of contracting COVID saw vast drop in household consumption

Stats SA said the economy shrank by 16.4% from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday said the fear of contracting the coronavirus, a decrease in income and fear of arrest, saw a vast decrease in household consumption in the second quarter of this year.

South Africa's economy had been struggling prior to the arrival of COVID-19, but Stats SA said the economy shrank by 16.4% from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020.

But the agency said to look at this data differently: if the economy continued to contract in a similar way, the annualised figure would be set at 51%.

This drop was expected considering the impact of the COVID- 9 pandemic and the lockdown.

ALSO READ: Cyril Ramaphosa - We need national effort to rebuild SA economy

From 27 March, the movement and activities were limited as government closed the borders and forced all non-essential services and businesses to close.

Stats SA said at a household level, transport dropped by 71.4% and with no entertainment centres, open households spent 86% less on recreation and culture.

The sale of alcohol was banned under level 4 and 5 of the lockdowns, resulting in a 92.4% drop in household consumption of alcoholic beverages.

So, what did South Africans spend their money on during the hard lockdown?

With many working from home, consumption for communication increased by 3.6% and housing, water and electricity went up by 1.5%.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said surprisingly even with schools closed, consumption on education increased by 1.1%.

Maluleke said household consumption contributed 30.8% of the total decline.

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