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South Africa’s Retail Sales Growth Slows in September

South African retail sales growth eased more than forecast in September as consumer confidence waned because of slowing economic expansion.

Retail sales rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier, below the revised 6.7 percent pace in August, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on its website today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 12 economists was for growth of 4.8 percent. Sales fell 0.5 percent from a month earlier.

“Confidence is definitely playing a role, it is a slowdown from unsustainable growth,” Elna Moolman, an economist at Renaissance Capital in Johannesburg, said by telephone. “This trend will continue.”

The Reserve Bank will probably hold borrowing costs at the lowest level in at least 30 years at its meeting Nov. 22 as economic growth deteriorates because of strikes and slumping demand for manufactured exports, according to the median estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Consumer spending, which makes up about two-thirds of expenditure in the economy, is under pressure as the FNB/BER confidence index remains near a four-year low in the third quarter. The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s business confidence index, at 92 in October, remained close to a 12-year low reached in July.

The rand extended its decline after the data was released. The currency dropped 0.4 percent to 8.8333 per dollar at 1:16 p.m. in Johannesburg. The yield on the rand debt due in 2015 dropped 2 basis points to 5.47 percent.

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