Ina Opperman

Consumer finances are still so unstable that even a small adverse event, such as higher food prices or a policy change, such as higher interest rates or removal of temporary grants, can make their personal finances deteriorate again.

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South African consumers’ financial vulnerability has recovered to its best level in two years during the third quarter of 2021, although their finances generally are still in a vulnerable state and they remain financially exposed. Millions of them have also seen their financial position change due to job losses, while others received the R350 grant that saw them through. Since the second quarter of 2019, almost 1.4 million workers lost their jobs and income, but almost six million Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant payments of R350 per month were made in the third quarter, suggesting that the recovery was...