• Mining strike pummels cash withdrawals in S Africa

The Spark ATM Systems Spark Cash Index suggests that ongoing strike actions in South Africa are dampening consumer spending. The SCI, which measures the average value of cash withdrawals across more than 2,000 Spark ATMs in South Africa, recorded a month-on-month drop of 2.27 percent in average cash withdrawals for October 2012.

Marc Sternberg, managing director of Spark ATM Systems, said the latest statistics clearly show that the provinces that are experiencing labor turmoil in platinum and gold mining recorded a significant decline in average ATM cash withdrawal values during October. 

"The North West (platinum), Free State (gold), and to a lesser extent Limpopo and Mpumalanga regions, all recorded month-on-month drops in cash withdrawal values of between 2 percent and 5 percent during the October strike period," Sternberg said. "Limpopo and Mpumalanga also act as labour feeds for mineworkers to the platinum and gold sectors and, as many miners did not receive salaries, there was a subsequent decline in cash withdrawal values." 

Sternberg said that the transport sector strike also affected cash withdrawal activity along the country's main transport routes, as truck drivers did not draw money and no payments for truckloads were completed.

Sternberg said the trend may be reversed in November and December, though. "With the majority of the strikes now over and many workers subsequently receiving higher salaries, we should see a spending 'catch-up,' resulting in increased cash withdrawal figures over the next two months."

For more on this topic, visit the trends/statistics research center.

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