Latest statistics released by Spark ATM Systems, South Africa’s premier independent ATM deployer, reveal that average cash withdrawal values across the country increased in November, a positive sign ahead of the December festive season.
The Spark Cash Index (SCI)*, which measures the average value of withdrawals across more than 1,500 Spark ATM’s throughout the country, reflected a 2.18% year-on-year increase in November from R412 to R421, while month-on-month cash withdrawal values also reveal a positive increase of 0.72% from October to November 2011.
“The increase in the value of cash in circulation for November is in line with the historic trend for this time of the year which is on track to better the highest withdrawal value of R447, recorded during December 2010,” says Marc Sternberg, MD of Spark ATM Systems.
He adds that the figures point to an increase in the amount of cash in circulation, which bodes well for retail sales over the last quarter of 2011.
“The SCI is an accurate leading indicator of Stats SA’s Retail Trade Sales (RTS) report, the last value of which was released for the month of September. The increase in the SCI during October and November hints that growth in the RTS should be reflected when these values are released by Stats SA. Looking forward, with the annual trend being that cash withdrawal values increase steadily month on month from November to December, we can therefore expect the retail sales figures for the last month of the year to also show good year-on-year increases,” says Sternberg.
*About the Spark Cash Index (SCI): The amount of cash withdrawn at ATMs is a real-time indicator of cash availability and consumer spending in the economy. From Spark ATM Systems’ records the company has noticed that over time the average amount of cash withdrawn at its network of ATMs corresponds with general economic conditions in South Africa. The Index also points to consumer trends such as the variations in cash withdrawn based on prevailing economic conditions, particularly variations in the prime interest rate and seasonal peaks and dips.
The value for the SCI is obtained using the following formula: Cash dispensed for the month divided by the number of cash withdrawals for the month across a selection of Spark ATM’s network of ATMs. The sample size is very large, and covers both urban and rural areas across all nine provinces of South Africa, therefore representing a very good cross section of South African consumers. The data presented is raw data and has not been adjusted for seasonality or for the effects of inflation.