Windhoek — Namibian consumers spent N$138 million in March alone, so confident were they of their financial prospects.
Overall business confidence was high as well, especially in the export sector, where a weaker Namibian dollar brought smiles to exporting businesses. Nevertheless, a huge portion of consumer spending was dedicated to buying vehicles, with about 630 new passenger vehicles sold in the month.
The spending spree pushed up instalment credit by 3 percent over the previous month - equivalent to N$138 million - while spending increased vehicle sales by slightly over 12 percent.
"Consumers appeared more optimistic about their financial future as indicated by their willingness to spend on goods," said the IJG Business Climate Index Monitor for March.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) produces the Business Climate Index basing it on 13 broad economic indicators that are likely to impact on the domestic business environment. The March Index hit a record high of 122.9 basis points "on the back of renewed consumer confidence."
The spending, credit spending that is, could have been higher were it not for the "structural supply shortages" in the housing market, which meant that very few mortgage loans were approved.
The overall business sector did have a good month as well, with the export index increasing 2.5 basis points as economic prospects in export markets continued to improve. Although metal prices were down 3 percent, the weaker Namibian dollar ensured that metal exporters were unaffected in local currency terms.
"Fish prices were once again on the front foot after whole monk prices increased by 3 percent during the month, while hake fillet prices continued to struggle. Whole fish prices continued to increase, while fillet prices decreased," according to the report.