Credit health declines: index

By Drum Digital
29 May 2012

Consumer credit health in South Africa declined between the first and second quarters this year, according to the results of the Transunion consumer credit index released on Tuesday.

The consumer credit index (CCI), a measure of credit health, declined to 50.7 in the second quarter of 2012 from a revised 54.4 (previously 55.7) in the first quarter this year.

This reasserted a downward trend that began in the fourth quarter of 2010, having risen in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting rising consumer loan impairments, tighter real aggregate monetary conditions, and marginal increases in debt service costs.

Even though it declined, the index remained above the key 50.0 level, indicating consumer credit health was not deteriorating, even if it was only improving very marginally or holding steady.

The rise in impaired accounts at a time when aggregate national debt servicing costs did not appear to be rising particularly strongly suggested that impairments may be concentrated in isolated markets.

The unsecured loan market stands out as a likely source, according to the CCI.

Slightly tighter monetary conditions than in the previous quarter and persistent non-discretionary goods and services inflation has led to tighter household financial conditions.

However, on the whole household cash flow appears to still be fairly healthy, the CCI indicated

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