SA’s business confidence firmed further in January, after making gains in December.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) business confidence index rose 3.9 points to 97.7 in January from 93.8 in December.
The BCI was also higher than a year ago, rising 5.1 points from 92.6 in January 2016.
The January reading marked the largest positive month-on-month change in the BCI since February 2015, when it rose 4.1 points, and the biggest year-on-year increase since May 2011.
Sacci said the BCI had recovered in October, November and December, and this recovery had accelerated in January 2017 — pointing to a normalisation of the business climate in SA despite uncertain local and global economic and political conditions.
The chamber said the index suggested improved prospects for business in 2017 after a challenging and turbulent 2016.
“If these conditions could continue to carry the day, then the momentum gained in business confidence could accelerate and create the necessary investment and economic growth atmosphere,” Sacci said.
“It is further imperative that SA stay abreast and adapt to international and global changes that stand to impact on SA, global trade conditions, the local economy and the business community,” it said.
More BCI subindices made month-on-month gains in January than in December. Eight of the 13 subindices gained, two were unchanged and three declined in January. In December, only five subindices gained.
Four of the 13 subindices improved on a year ago, while three remained virtually unchanged.
Factors Sacci highlighted for their influence on the January BCI were the rand exchange rate (positive), the increased real value of building plans passed (negative), the higher gold and platinum price, and a larger number of new vehicle sales.
By Pericles Anetos for www.businessday.co.za