Cape Town - Business confidence in South Africa remained relatively unchanged in October, reflecting a neutral sentiment in the market place, according to the latest Business Confidence Index (BCI) of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci).
At the same time, Sacci noted that SA's subdued economic situation continued to limit business opportunities.
"It appears that SA is not currently in a position to take advantage of the improving global economic climate," said Sacci.
After the Sacci BCI recovered by 3.4 index points to 93.0 in September 2017 from a low in August 2017, the BCI remained virtually unchanged at 92.9 in October 2017.
The BCI also registered nearly a similar reading in October 2017 than last year’s October BCI of 93.
The average for the BCI in the first ten months of 2017 was 94.1 compared to 93.4 for the corresponding period of 2016, and 101.2 for the first ten months of 2015.
According to Sacci, the 2017 BCI average signifies a decline of 7.1 index points on the 2015 BCI average - which is before the replacement of the former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015.
The BCI shows positive month-on-month movements in five of the thirteen sub-indices in October 2017. Higher merchandise import volumes made the largest positive impact on the October BCI followed by merchandise export volumes and increased real retail sales.
Lower inflation, improved new vehicle sales and the higher real value of building plans passed were the main movers causing a positive year-on-year impact on the BCI, according to the Sacci report.
Before Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's recent mini budget, Sacci urged him to issue a policy statement "that will restore confidence to the business environment and markets in general and in particular deal decisively and clearly with issues causing uncertainty".
Sacci said it is convinced that the only appropriate avenue to generate growth is to nurture investors and the business environment in order to obtain a sustainable economic performance that generates the fiscal space, jobs, greater opportunity, inclusivity and wealth.
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