There is now a real possibility that we will enter into recession for the first time in 17 years and the contracting growth we are seeing is expected to last for most of the rest of the year with a turnaround envisaged towards the beginning of 2010 only. Inflation is slowing, partly as a result of the inflation targeting steps taken by the Monetary Policy Committee in cutting interest rates and partly due to the slowing economy damping spending and inflation at the same time. We are not expected to hit the targeted range of 3-6 percent inflation this year although we should come in close to the top end of the target. There are still problems that may occur including a massive hike in Eskom tariffs to fund infrastructure spending.
The report estimates that inflation will hit 6.2 percent by the end of 2009 although this is an estimate with, as with all economics, a heavy dose of Ceteris Paribus, or if nothing else comes along to upset the apple cart. This is a serious flaw in economic thought as projections and estimates always lag behind the reality and reality is in a constant state of flux and it is not really possible to separate factors and treat them as independent when in fact they are highly interlinked and influence each other. So we can expect some light on the horizon but now is the time to expect change and prepare yourself for any shocks that could still occur, plan a budget and stick to it and start putting money aside for just in case.