Coronavirus – South Africa: COVID-19 lockdown impacts publication of economic statistics

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Statistics South Africa recently issued a media statement on the impact of the lockdown on data collection processes and scheduled web statistical releases. In light of the extension of the lockdown, we felt it important to keep the public apprised of the continuing impact on the publication of scheduled releases, as well as what the organisation is doing to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on business.

To this end, Stats SA recently launched an online qualitative survey with the objective of understanding the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. The survey was sent to a sample of businesses we regularly interact with in our usual data collection activities. “Due to a number of businesses being closed at this time, we will have to wait and see what the response rate is,” said Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke. “We will assess the response rate and compile a note on the results of the survey in the following week, with the option of conducting the survey again.”

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke



“A selection of food and pharmaceutical items that form part of the Consumer Price Index basket are being priced on a weekly basis. We aim to release a note on price changes for these products while the lockdown is still in operation.”

“We hope to provide continuous updates to our statistical users and the public with the revised publication schedule and the initiatives undertaken by Stats SA to provide data to fill the gaps on key economic and social indicators during COVID-19,” said Maluleke.

Measuring economic data for this period is crucial, but extremely difficult as businesses and large parts of government are either closed or not functioning at full capacity during lockdown, and only limited numbers of Stats SA staff are able to work remotely.

Most publications due in April (but covering earlier reference periods) have been suspended. The extension of the lockdown to the end of April required a rethink about resuming the publication of statistics on the economy as well as the potential impact of these events on the quality of statistics. The impact on each series differs depending on the source of the information.

Stats SA understands the need for real-time data to understand the impact of the lockdown on the economy; however, in our endeavour to provide the necessary statistics we are mindful of the constraints imposed by the restrictions put in place to manage the spread of the corona virus. These constraints, together with the uncertainty regarding when enterprises will resume operations, inevitably impacts the scheduling of data collection, analysis and publication of statistical releases.

A more comprehensive document on the impact of the lockdown on economic statistics will be uploaded to the Stats SA website before the end of business today.

Please find below revised schedule for economic statistics publications.

Revised publication schedule for economic statistics

Please note: in some cases data for two months are scheduled for publication in one release, for example manufacturing for March and April in one release on 11 June.

PublicationExpected publication date
P0141 – Consumer price index, March 202022 April 2020 (Wednesday)
P4141 – Electricity generated and available for distribution, March 202020 April 2020 ( Monday )
P0142.7 – Export and import unit value indices, February 202030 April 2020 (Thursday)
P0043 – Statistics of liquidations and insolvencies, March 202011 May 2020 (Monday)
P3043 – Manufacturing: Utilisation of production capacity by large enterprises,

February 2020
12 May 2020 (Tuesday)
P2041 – Mining: Production and sales, February 202019 May 2020 (Tuesday)
P3041.2 – Manufacturing: Production and sales, February 202019 May 2020 (Tuesday)
P6242.1 – Retail trade sales, February 202020 May 2020 (Wednesday)
P5041.1 – Selected building statistics of the private sector as reported by local government institutions, February 202021 May 2020 (Thursday)
P6141.2 – Wholesale trade sales, February 202021 May 2020 (Thursday)
P6343.2 – Motor trade sales, February 202021 May 2020 (Thursday)
P0041 – Statistics of civil cases for debt, February 202021 May 2020 (Thursday)
P6410 – Tourist accommodation, February 202025 May 2020 (Monday)
P6420 – Food and beverages, February 202025 May 2020 (Monday)
P7162 – Land transport, February 202025 May 2020 (Monday)
P0043 – Statistics of liquidations and insolvencies, April 202025 May 2020 (Monday)
P0141 – Consumer price index, April 202027 May 2020 (Wednesday)
P0142.1 – Producer price index, March and April 202028 May 2020 (Thursday)
P0151.1 – Construction materials price indices, March and April 202028 May 2020 (Thursday)
P0142.7 – Export and import unit value indices, March 202028 May 2020 (Thursday)
P4141 – Electricity generated and available for distribution, April 20204 June 2020 (Thursday)
P2041 – Mining: Production and sales, March and April 202011 June 2020 (Thursday)
P3041.2 – Manufacturing: Production and sales, March and April 202011 June 2020 (Thursday)
P6242.1 – Retail trade sales, March and April 202017 June 2020 (Wednesday)
P5041.1 – Selected building statistics of the private sector as reported by local government institutions, March and April 202018 June 2020 (Thursday)
P6141.2 – Wholesale trade sales, March and April 202018 June 2020 (Thursday)
P6343.2 – Motor trade sales, March and April 202018 June 2020 (Thursday)
P0041 – Statistics of civil cases for debt, March and April 202018 June 2020 (Thursday)
P6410 – Tourist accommodation, March and April 202022 June 2020 (Monday)
P6420 – Food and beverages, March and April 202022 June 2020 (Monday)
P7162 – Land transport, March and April 202022 June 2020 (Monday)
P0043 – Statistics of liquidations and insolvencies, May 202022 June 2020 (Monday)
P0141 – Consumer price index, May 202024 June 2020 (Wednesday)
P5041.3 – Selected building statistics of the private sector as reported by local government institutions, 201924 June 2020 (Wednesday)
P9114 – Financial census of municipalities, 201924 June 2030 (Wednesday)
P0142.1 – Producer price index, May 202025 June 2020 (Thursday)
P0151.1 – Construction materials price indices, May 202025 June 2020 (Thursday)
P0142.7 – Export and import unit value indices, March 202025 June 2020 (Thursday)
P9119.3 – Financial statistics of national government, 2018/1925 June 2030 (Thursday)
P0044 – Quarterly financial statistics (QFS), March 202030 June 2020 (Tuesday)
P9110 – Quarterly financial statistics of municipalities, March 202030 June 2020 (Tuesday)
P0441 – Gross domestic product (GDP), 1st quarter 202030 June 2020 (Tuesday)

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