Business Monitor International

South Africa Business Forecast Report

Published 20 October 2014 | Quarterly

  • 49 pages
  • Instant access to your report online and PDF format through your account library
  • Includes 3 free updated quarterly reports
South Africa Business Forecast Report

Core Views:

  • The South African economy will grow at a tepid rate over the medium term, with real GDP expanding by just 1.5% in 2014 and 2.1% in 2015. Our view is predicated on several factors including weak investment sentiment and the ongoing retrenchment in the gold and platinum mining sectors. 

  • The appointment of Lesetja Kganyago as incoming governor of South Africa's central bank means that monetary policy will continue in the same vein. Although inflation is above-target, the South African Reserve Bank will hold off from hiking rates over the coming 12 months in a bid to support ailing economic growth.

  • Our core scenario is for economic reforms to move at a slow pace owing to the different political leanings in the tripartite alliance (between the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party and the trade union Cosatu) which tend to result in indecision and sclerotic implementation of policy.

Major Forecast Changes:

  • We have changed our interest rate outlook and now expect rates to remain on hold over the coming 12 months, while previously we expected small rate hikes. The change in our view was precipitated by a deterioration in the outlook for economic growth, and a more benign picture for inflation.

Key Risks To Outlook:

  • A sustained bout of global risk aversion with an attendant sharp outflow of portfolio funds. This would threaten South Africa's balance of payments.

  • A sudden uptick in domestic political risk, such as an escalation of the industrial unrest that blighted various sectors in 2013.

  • A sustained period of high oil prices would exacerbate the already-sizeable current account deficit.

Forecast Table:

Macroeconomic Forecasts (South Africa 2012-2015)
Indicator 2012 2013 2014f 2015f
Nominal GDP, USDbn 382.4 350.8 336.7 350.6
Real GDP growth, % y-o-y 2.5 1.9 1.5 2.1
Consumer price inflation, % y-o-y, eop 5.7 5.4 6.5 5.5

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Core Views
Major Forecast Changes
Key Risks To Outlook
Chapter 1: Political Outlook
SWOT Analysis
BMI Political Risk Index
Domestic Politics
On The Ground: Downbeat Outlook, Sluggish Reforms
Tab le: Politica l Overview
Long-Term Political Outlook
Political Trials And Tribulations Over The Coming Decade
Chapter 2: Economic Outlook
SWOT Analysis
BMI Economic Risk Index
Economic Activity
Weak Consumption Will Weigh On Growth
tab le: Real GDP Growt h, % chg q-o-q, SAAR
Table: Economic Activity
Monetary Policy
New Governor, Same Story: Accommodative MonPol
Table: Monetary Policy
Exchange Rate Policy
ZAR: Locked Into Depreciation
Table: Exchange Rat e
Table: Currency Forecast
Banking Sector
Banking: Sluggish Growth, Pockets Of Opportunity
Chapter 3: 10-Year Forecast
The South African Economy To 2023
Underperformance Among EM Peers Ahead
Table: Long-Term Macroeconomic Forecasts
Chapter 4: Operational Risk
Operational Risk Index
Operational Risk
Table: South Africa Operational Risk
Transport Network
Table: Transport Netwo rk Risk
Economic Openness
Tab le: Eco nomic Openness Risk
Chapter 5: Key Sectors
Oil & Gas
Table: Oil Production, 2018-2023
tABLE: Oil Production, 2012-2017
Table: Construction & Infrastructure Industry Data, 2012-2017
Table: Construction & Infrastructure Industry Data, 2018-2023
Other Key Sectors
Tab le: Pharma Sector Key Indicators
Tab le: Telecoms Sector Key Indicators
Tab le: Defence & Security Sector Key Indicators
Tab le: Food & Drink Sector Key Indicators
Tab le: Autos Sector Key Indicators
Tab le: Freight Key Indicators
Chapter 6: BMI Global Assumptions
Global Outlook
Big Emerging Market Revisions
Table: Global Assumptions
Table: Developed States, Real GDP Growth , %
Table: Emerging Markets , Real GDP Growth, %

The South Africa Business Forecast Report helps businesses with market assessment, strategic planning and decision making to promote growth and profitability in South Africa and is an essential tool for CEOs, Chairmen, Finance Directors/CFOs, Managing Directors, Marketing/Sales Directors with commercial interests in this emerging market.

An influential new analysis of South Africa's economic, political and financial prospects through end-2018, just published by award-winning forecasters, Business Monitor International (BMI).

Key Uses

  • Forecast the pace and stability of South Africa's economic and industry growth through end-2018.
  • Identify and evaluate adverse political and economic trends, to facilitate risk mitigation.
  • Assess the critical shortcomings of the business environment that pose hidden barriers and costs to corporate profitability.
  • Contextualise South Africa's country risks against regional peers using BMI's country comparative Risk Rankings system.
  • Evaluate external threats to doing business in South Africa, including currency volatility, the commodity price boom and protectionist policies.

The South Africa Business Forecast Report by Business Monitor International (BMI) includes four major sections: Economic Outlook, Political Outlook, Business Environment and Key Sector Outlook.

Economic Outlook:

How will the South Africa economic policy-making and performance impact on corporate profitability over 2014-2018?

BMI provides our fully independent 5-year forecasts for South Africa through end-2018 for more than 50 economic and key industry indicators. We evaluate growth, and also forecast the impact of economic management.

Economic Outlook Contents

The South Africa Business Forecast Report features BMI's forecasts with supporting analysis for 2014 through to end-2018, set against government views and BMI's evaluation of global and regional prospects.

Key Areas Covered:


  • Full 10-year forecasts with data - for key macroeconomic variables including GDP (real growth and per capita), population, inflation, current account balance and the exchange rate.
  • BMI's comprehensive Risk Rankings system - rates each country worldwide for economic and political risk, and rates the business environment, within a global and regional context.

Written Analysis:

  • Economic Activity - real GDP growth, employment, inflation, consumption (retail sales and confidence).
  • Balance of Payments - trade and investment, current and capital account.
  • Monetary Policy - interest rate trends (bank lending and deposit rates) and inflation (producer price and consumer price).
  • Exchange Rate Policy - currency controls, foreign investment flows, exchange rates and foreign exchange reserves.
  • Fiscal Policy - macroeconomic strategy and policies, government finance and tax reforms.
  • Foreign Direct Investment - approvals, inflows and climate.
  • External Debt - debt profile (short and long-term plus public and private sector exposure).
  • Global Assumptions - forecasts for each year to end-2018 covering: major commodities, growth in key regions, inflation, and interest and exchange rates, in the United States, Japan, China and the eurozone.

Key Benefits

  • Rely upon BMI's 100% independent forecast scenarios for South Africa and underlying assumptions - we take no advertising and are privately-owned.
  • Exploit the benefits of BMI's comprehensive and reliable macroeconomic database on South Africa, sourced and fully maintained by BMI from an extensive network of private sector, government and multilateral contacts.
  • Gain key insights into the current and future direction of government economic policy, which could significantly affect your company's business prospects, from BMI's team of analysts and economists.

Political Outlook:

What are the political risks to doing business in South Africa over the next 5-years?

BMI's South Africa country Risk Rankings evaluate the short- and medium-term threats to political stability.

Political Outlook Contents

  • SWOT Analysis for the South Africa Market - Political Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing South Africa.
  • Political Stability and Risk Assessment - BMI's Risk Rankings assess explicit short- and long-term risks to political stability; latest ankings, rankings and trends for South Africa's risk are compared with regional and global averages.
  • Current Administration and Policy-making BMI assesses the threats to the continuity of economic policy, and likely changes to the business operating environment.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark South Africa's risk profile against its neighbours, the global and regional average, allowing easy comparison of risks between key business markets.
  • Identify, evaluate and anticipate political and security risks to the business environment, and to your company's current operations and future plans.
  • Gain valuable insights into government and policy-making, through BMI's specialist team of analysts and economists, and their network of private and public sector sources.

Business Environment

Business Environment Risk Rankings with SWOT Analysis - Business Environment Risk Rankings for South Africa, benchmarked against rankings for regional neighbours.

Country Competitiveness - Competitiveness of South Africa's business operating environment in supporting corporate growth and profitability, compared with regional neighbours.

Business Environment Contents

  • Domestic Environment - Transparency, cronyism and corruption; labour market flexibility; corporate tax burden; interest rate levels; sophistication of banking sector and stock market; levels of business confidence; infrastructure and IT.
  • Foreign Direct Investment - Analysis of foreign investment regime; foreign ownership laws; attractiveness of business environment to foreign investors.
  • Foreign Trade - Analysis of trading environment, government trade policy, liberalisation measures, tariffs and membership of trade areas.

Key Benefits

  • Assess your company's evolving exposure to country specific operational and business risks, using BMI's in-depth analysis of the legal and regulatory business environment.
  • Understand your market's comparative strengths and weaknesses in the key areas of commercial infrastructure and business institutions, using BMI's proprietary global Business Environment Risk Rankings.

Key Sector Outlook

Which industry sectors in South Africa will grow fastest, and where are the major investment opportunities in the market?

BMI's identifies investment opportunities in South Africa's high growth industries including automotives, defence & security, food & drink, freight transport, infrastructure, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals & healthcare and telecommunications & IT.

Key Areas Covered:

  • Market Overview - Size and value of each industry with developments over 2009-2013, covering major industry key performance indicators (KPIs) that have impacted company performance.
  • 5-year Industry Forecasts - Forecasts for each year over 2014-2018, using BMI's proprietary industry modeling technique, which incorporates all key domestic and international indicators - including economic growth, interest rates, exchange rate outlook, commodity prices and demographic trends - to provide fully integrated forecasts across, and within, each industry.
  • Demand- and Supply-Side Data/Forecasts - BMI's industry data covers both the output of each industry and the domestic demand, offering clear analysis of anticipated import/export trends, as well as capacity growth within each industry.

Key Benefits

  • Target strategic opportunities in high growth industries, which are benefiting from global mega trends, and thus offer strong investment and growth opportunities.
  • Compare the growth path of different industries to identify which are best placed to benefit from domestic and international economic prospects, and which have historically suffered from volatile growth trends - a key indicator of future risks.

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The sections that I find most interesting and useful are the macroeconomic data and forecasts for the country, top export destinations and economic activity. The indicators/analysis of these areas helps us orient our thinking, our assumptions and, consequently, our decisions in the commercial area.

Country Manager, DHL Express