ECONOMIC uncertainty is causing South Africans to postpone making key financial decisions like saving, an Old Mutual survey showed yesterday.
"It is clear people are generally feeling very unsure,” Old Mutual head of marketing, communications and corporate affairs Mohale Ralebitso said at the release of the insurer’s latest savings and investment monitor.
South Africa’s gross national saving rate, at 16%, is less than half of its emerging market counterparts such as India. Households had since 2005 had a negative net savings rate, the Treasury said in May.
Household debt remains at near- record highs and increased access to credit has partly contributed to the poor saving culture that has emerged over the past seven years.
About 60% of most households’ savings is for retirement but South Africa still has one of world’s lowest household savings rates.
"South Africans are not confident that sound planning will secure a positive outcome.
"This climate of doubt leads many to postpone committing to saving,” Ralebitso said.
"Unless this is immediately addressed, the long-term consequence is that many working South Africans may not be spared economic hardship later in life.”
South Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7% this year, down from an earlier forecast of 2.9%, according to the Reserve Bank, but other economists estimate growth may only be 1.7%.