South Africa’s economy bounced back to the size it was before the coronavirus pandemic struck following some moderations in the previous month, the latest figures in the monthly BankservAfrica Economic Transactions Index (BETI) show.

“The BETI increased by a significant 9.9% in May 2022 compared to a year ago to reach the highest level since August 2021,” said Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica’s head of stakeholder engagements.

The BankservAfrica Economic Transactions Index (BETI), which monitors interbank payments, rose to 143.5 in May from a revised 137.6 in April. That suggests a robust recovery of Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The May reading was also a substantial improvement on the 4.9% – revised from 4.5% – recorded in April,” Shergeran Naidoo added.

Following revisions to the seasonal factors, the actual index level reached an all-time high at 143.5. The strong number was unexpected in light of the many headwinds that surfaced in the local economy over recent weeks.

BETI is an early economic scorecard for South Africa in terms of growth trends and correlates closely with the central bank’s coincident indicator and the gross domestic product data.

Meanwhile, South Africa has the world’s highest unemployment rate, and tightening global financial conditions due to higher-than-expected inflation and choked supply chains stemming from China’s targeted COVID-19 lockdowns, extreme weather and the war in Ukraine are risks to the domestic growth outlook. The central bank lowered its 2022 expansion forecast to 1.7% from 2% last month.

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