Bureau for Economic Research: Confidence of the service sector falls to all-time low

None of the participants of the BER survey regarded business conditions as satisfactory.

On Tuesday 21 July, the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) said that the implementation of hard lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19 came as a blow for the service sector as the sentiment plummeted to a 15-year low. 

The Other Services Survey of 2020Q2 took place during lockdown level 4 and was conducted online between 13 May and 1 June, with nearly 500 executives participating.

It showed that the confidence of the service sector fell from an already-low level of 17 points in the first quarter of 2020 to seven points in the second quarter due to activity in restaurants, hotels and real estate coming to a standstill during lockdown. 

“The confidence of hotels and restaurants, as well as real estate agents, dropped to zero, which means that none of the participants regarded business conditions as satisfactory,” the BER stated. 

Transport and business services confidence fell to 13 and 15 points respectively. 

The BER said the results of the Other Services Survey 2020Q2 is further evidence that South Africa would suffer a historic gross domestic product decline in the second quarter, having already declined by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2020.