The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Business Confidence Index (BCI) for November measured 96.1, which is an increase of 0.3 index points compared with October.
“The upward momentum of the BCI since September appears to have flattened and it is the second time this year that the business climate hesitated after encouraging steps to develop and enhance business confidence,” said Sacci.
In November, three subindices were positive month-on-month, three were unchanged and seven declined against October levels.
Four of the seven real activity subindices had a negative month-on-month impact on the BCI and three of the six financial subindices were negative in November.
The BCI does not reflect business sentiment, but indicates how businesses are reacting to and experiencing the business environment.
Sacci said the November BCI level was supported by improvements in merchandise export and import volumes, the real value of building plans passed and manufacturing output.
The year-on-year decline in the all-share price of the JSE, higher inflation, lower precious metal prices and stagnant real retail sales weighed most negatively on the BCI in November, it pointed out.
“South Africa's economy continues to face various limitations due to inadequate growth, growing public debt, capital outflows, global trade tensions, fiscal constraints and several sociopolitical challenges that prevent optimal economic performance.
“With the world economy moving ahead rapidly in tandem with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, South Africa cannot compromise political popularity at the cost of becoming and remaining an investment destination.
“This does not only imply changing [the] production processes of the different sectors, but also the cost and efficacy of production factors to which technology is integrated,” commented Sacci.
The chamber added that it has become evident that South Africa has entered a protracted period of economic recuperation and implementation as indicated in Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October.
The flattening of momentum in business confidence must be addressed to create a situation where investor confidence is be nurtured.