SA Affordable Housing January / February 2017 // Issue: 62 - Page 8

ASSOCIATIONS 2017 set to be a better year for construction South Africa’s economy is poised to grow by between two to three percent in real terms next year, which will have a knock-on effect in the building and construction sectors and lead the way out of the protracted downturn the market has experienced. T his is according to the acclaimed economist, Dr Roelof Botha, managing director of GOPA Group SA, who was speaking at last year’s Readymix Conference hosted by Sarma, where he encouraged delegates to look out for opportunities as the markets turn. “Despite the largely negative sentiment that exists in South Africa at present the economy is still in relatively good shape and has, in fact, faired far better than other emerging market peers. Due to the diversity of our economy we have largely ridden out the storm thanks to sectors such as agriculture and services industries, which provided a counter balance to ill performers. “Other factors also indicate reasons to be bullish, such as increased gold demand which is at the second highest level in the history of the world. Just recently China purchased 1 400 tons of gold and Russia 1 000 tons, among others. This is good news for our mining sector and as commodity prices begin to swing back up it will get even better,” says Dr Botha. “On the building front the number of building plans being passed is looking better and will lead to increased activity in future when they are converted to actual building projects. Another indication of improvement is that hardware sales are turning upwards. “This is an inherently stable market and the Dr Roelof Botha. Image: Sarma slightest bit of improvement in the economy should translate to positive growth in the sector.” “There is a lot of positivity and a lot of money to be made. As for the negative sentiments, We predict that consumer price index (CPI) will go down Dr Botha predicts that these will prove to be largely and as a result interest rates will not rise again in the near unfounded and that any possible downgrades will not future. At present, our per capita disposable income ratio is happen in the near future. Also, he expects the rand will good, the index of manufacturing volume is rising; and not go into freefall as many naysayers might suggest. The metals prices, of the type mined in South Africa, are up by only caveat, of course, is the unpredictable political 20%. That means overall our macro-economic outlook is environment and the extent to which markets will react to better than one reads in the media.” the internal strife within the national government. 6 JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2017 AFFORDABLE SA HOUSING