The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SACCI's) Business Confidence Index (BCI) fell marginally in December 2018, signalling "little real progress in economic performance”.
The BCI index came in at 95.2 index points for December 2018, a decrease of 0.9 index points month-on-month.
The business chamber said the index’s upward momentum in early 2018 - that coincided with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as the country's president - had slowed and started to stagnate towards the end of the year.
“After the election of new leadership to the governing party in December 2017, the business climate improved substantially on positive sentiment and expectations for the economy.
“However, it became apparent that it will take longer to put the economy back on an upward trajectory due to structural and prolonged erosion of administrative capacity and competence to the economy inflicted earlier,” it said.
Business confidence in December 2018 was also lower than in December 2017, the month that the African National Congress held its national conference that elected Cyril Ramaphosa as party president.
The chamber said that, despite the index being lower year-on-year, the Ramaphosa administration at least “acknowledges the huge challenges ahead and the role a sound economy could play in addressing it”.
It noted that SA's economy had performed worse than its emerging market peers in 2018. The World Bank, meanwhile, on Tuesday estimated that SA's GDP would grow by 1.3% in 2019, under a third of the estimated 4.2% growth rate of other emerging market countries.