South African consumers regained some confidence in the economy in the third quarter after consumer confidence hit a 35-year low in the previous quarter, a survey showed on Monday, as the country reopened its borders and businesses from the lockdown. The consumer confidence index (CCI), sponsored by First National Bank (FNB) and compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER), edged up to minus 23 points in the quarter from minus 33 points in the second quarter. Acording to the survey, the partial recovery took place as consumers were able to resume work and add to household finances, which spurred spending on some durable goods. However, big-ticket purchases such as vehicles and furniture were still low priority. “The gradual lifting of restrictions and the resumption of economic activity as South Africa moved from level 4 of the risk-adjusted strategy in May to level 3 in June and level 2 in August have finally allowed most consumers to go back to work and earn a living,” FNB Chief Economist Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya said. The survey, however, reinforced economists’ view that the COVID-19 crisis and economic restrictions were a blow to consumers’ ability to spend – and that it may take years for the confidence and household incomes to rebound.