SACCI’s Business Confidence Index (BCI) for March 2019 declined by 1,6 to 91,8 compared to the February 2019 figure, and 5.8 below the March 2018 figure of 97.6. Six of the thirteen sub-indices of the BCI improved on their February 2019 readings, four declined and three remained unchanged. The rand exchange rate against the major trading and investment currencies, interrupted electricity supply and electricity tariff increase, as well as slowing manufacturing output were the largest contributors to the negative trend of the BCI in March compared to February 2019. March 2019 statistics reflect a depreciation of the rand, higher core inflation, and less merchandise import volumes compared to the previous month. Merchandise export volumes were however higher in March 2019.
The BCI reflects a depressed business climate that is dominated by concerns over continued difficult and uncertain domestic economic circumstances. The upcoming 8 May 2019 general elections add to this uncertainty. Moody’s non pronouncement of its latest ratings review of the economy provides a short-lived relief of the dreaded fear of a downgrade.
There are however positive short-term business climate indicators which are in response to efforts and measures by government to grow the economy, and tenacity and resilience on the part of business in the face of the challenges of fuel increases, electric tariff increases, and load shedding. They do not overshadow the negative impact that these challenges will have in the months ahead.
For a full background to this month’s SACCI BCI see the economic commentary in the BCI report on www.sacci.org.za.
For more information, contact:
Alan Mukoki SACCI CEO 082 551 1159
Richard Downing SACCI Economist 082 822 5566
South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI)
Tel: +27 11 446 3800
Fax: 086 549 2662
SACCI New Office Address: 18 Hurlingham Road, Illovo