The economic power of good news

sa good news brand south africa imstaying 300x173 - The economic power of good news

By Sharon Wood

South Africans are clearly hungry for good news as a Facebook community, #ImStaying, experiences exponential growth in its membership base. It’s a keen reminder of how important consumer confidence – buoyed by hope for the future – is, in boosting growth prospects. This, combined with good news about the progress being made on youth unemployment initiatives, is the recipe for success South Africa needs right now.

Amid all the doom and gloom that surrounds us globally and locally, a recent trend highlights just how hungry South Africans are for good news about their country amid ongoing horror stories of abuse of women, soaring crime rates, and concerns about whether the lights will stay on, and maintaining its investment-grade rating.

On 7 September, a group of South Africans set up a Facebook Group called #ImStaying. Its aim: to honour all those who still believe that we, as a nation, can turn things around. The group goes on to say: “To all those who choose to stay and work together to save this beautiful country we call home! This group belongs to all willing to make a positive difference!”

As it turns out, there are many South Africans who still believe in the Rainbow Nation, with the membership of the group rising to almost 78,000 by the weekend and then nearly doubling to 112,500 by Monday morning this week (now at over 250k)

Why is this so important? Not only is the stream of positive news about South Africa in this small but growing online community encouraging, but it is also a keen reminder that it is confidence that builds economies and nations. That is why consumer and business confidence indices are viewed as such important leading economic indicators the world over.

Consumer confidence data provides valuable guidance on future consumer spending patterns, with robust consumer confidence usually resulting in increased spending and, in turn, better growth in gross domestic product. It is also possible to gauge the success of monetary policy by looking at consumer confidence trends.

In South Africa, consumer confidence has been under pressure as a result of political uncertainty, and Eskom blackouts earlier in 2019 but did improve marginally in the second quarter of the year. Elsewhere in the developed world, consumer confidence has held up surprisingly well, given fears of a global economic slowdown amid trade war jitters.

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