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  • ATM and card transactions during lockdown have plummeted to record lows.  
  • On Sunday, far fewer transactions were recorded than on a typical Christmas day.
  • Judging from the current activity, it looks like about 70% of the consumer-facing economy has fallen away, an economist says.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

An analysis of ATM transactions and point-of-sale (POS) transactions at stores across South Africa confirms very little is going on in the economy during lockdown.

South Africa entered an unprecedented 21-day lockdown on Friday to slow the spread of Covid-19 in the country, which has so far killed three people.  

By Sunday, only 1.2 million transactions at ATMs and stores were recorded – which are only 60% of the usual number on Christmas Day and during the Easter holidays, according to a report by BankservAfrica and Economists.co.za.

In fact, it was the lowest number of transactions since records started ten years ago,  says Mike Schüssler, chief economist at economists.co.za told Business Insider SA.

On a typical day after the 25th (typically pay day in South Africa), around 5.4 million transactions are recorded.

By Sunday, the transaction volumes were just 28% of the normal for the same day last year.

But this follows a massive spike in transactions in the run-up to the lockdown:

BankservAfrica’s daily point of sale and ATM transaction volumes for March 2019 and 2020. Source: BankservAfrica and Economists.co.za

Judging from the current activity, it looks like about 70% of the consumer-facing economy has fallen away, says Schüssler.

TAKE A LOOK: What you can find at Pick n Pay, Woolies and others during lockdown

Consumers make up about 60% of expenditure in the domestic economy, so a one-month lockdown could see GDP plummet.

While the SA Reserve Bank only sees the domestic economy shrink by 0.2% this year, other economists expect a decline of more than 2%.

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