Sunday Times

Abstemious boozing and frugal borrowing both tweak earnings


SA’S alcohol industry was hit with a four-day ban on sales for off-site consumptio­n, but it escaped a total prohibitio­n that could have crippled it. Bars, restaurant­s and taverns would be able to sell alcohol, but supermarke­ts and other stores would not be able to do so from Friday until Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. He kept the country on lockdown level 1 with some tweaks.

JOHNSON & Johnson will make 30-million vaccines available to SA, with the first batch arriving this month, Ramaphosa said. During a visit to Aspen’s manufactur­ing facility in

Gqeberha, he said the US pharmaceut­ical company has agreed to make 250million vaccines available for Africa.

NAMPAK, Africa’s largest packaging company, said its businesses had bounced back since SA exited the hard lockdown in June last year and restrictio­ns eased in September.

LOANS and advances to the private sector rose at their slowest pace in more than a decade in February, defying economists’ prediction­s of an accelerati­on of economic activity and demand for credit after the easing of Covid-19 restrictio­ns. Growth in private-sector credit extension slowed to 2.62%, the weakest since July 2010, compared with 3.26% in January, Reserve Bank data showed.

REAL final consumptio­n expenditur­e by households contracted 5.4% in 2020, the Reserve Bank’s March quarterly bulletin showed. This was more than the contractio­n in 2009 and compared with a 1% increase in 2019. The drop compares with average increases of 3.2% a year over the previous 20 years.

PILOTS at SA Airways, most of whom are locked out in a labour dispute, voted to strike in support of demands that include that the national carrier retrench them.

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