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SA likely lost R1bn per load shedding stage per day - analyst

Feb 16 2019 12:07
Carin Smith

At a "guesstimate", South Africa's gross domestic product has likely lost around R1bn per load shedding stage per day since last Sunday, according to analyst Peter Attard Montalto, head of capital markets research at Intellidex.

He told Fin24 that, although this was a rough approximation, it broadly made sense if one looked at the loss to GDP during previous periods of load shedding in the country.

Economist Mike Schüssler told Fin24 he estimated that Eskom earned about R4bn a week. Therefore, with at least 10% - and at one stage 15% - gone for much of the time, the loss to Eskom up to now is probably around R300m to R400m.

Struggle for investment

"That is more than the turnover of 95% of SA companies in a year and probably as much as 30% of the JSE-listed companies," commented Schüssler.

"The SA economy, however, would have lost about ten times that amount, so at least about R4bn. It will catch up some, but not all of what it lost, and again we will struggle to get investment as the world would have seen what happened with Eskom."

Momentum Investments economist Sanisha Packirisam referred to a graph compiled by Momentum Investments on what electricity cuts could mean for GDP, using estimates from various institutions.
 
She said the reason why the HSRC 2008 estimate was larger was that this time around, more businesses had invested in generators and the outages were scheduled.

Too optimistic

The market is over-estimating the room for optimism about Tito Mboweni's upcoming National Budget, according to Montalto.

Apart from not expecting any major tax changes, he foresees the key to Budget 2019 will be the Eskom bailout.

In his view, having no policy white paper on Eskom laying out details of a turnaround strategy, makes for a huge credibility problem for National Treasury to deal with in Budget 2019.

Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises (DPE) heard earlier this week that Eskom is "technically insolvent", although the DPE later said they meant that it was facing "liquidity problems".

Eskom's R420bn debt burden represents 15% of the sovereign's debt. If Eskom defaults on its debt, it will threaten the economy, the DPE highlighted in a submission to the committee.

load shedding GDP loss

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