Trade conditions turn positive

Trade conditions in September turned positive, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Tuesday.

Releasing its monthly Trade Conditions Survey, it said current trade conditions as indicated by the Trade Activity Index (TAI) had moved into positive territory in September 2010, measuring 51.

“The September 2010 TAI is a considerable improvement over the 45 of August 2010, but is one point lower than the TAI of September 2009.”

All the components of physical trade activity (excluding prices) improved in September 2010 with a marked increase in sales volumes from 50 in August to 59 in September.

“This is a return to the high levels recorded in February/March 2010,” Sacci said.

The supplier delivery index increased from 44 in August 2010 to 52 in September 2010, while stock levels picked up from 44 to 52 in September 2010 in anticipation of year-end activity.

Sacci said the index on selling prices further increased from 50 in August 2010 to 53 in September, but the input price index decreased by three points to 57 in September 2010.

Inflationary expectations ease
The Trade Expectations Index (TEI) declined marginally from 61 in August 2010 to 60 in September 2010 as expectations were moderated to align with current conditions.

The indices of expectations on sales volumes and supplier deliveries eased somewhat while new orders and inventories strengthened—albeit marginally.

Sacci said inflationary expectations eased as both the indices on selling and input prices decreased by two and one index point respectively.

Employment conditions in the trade environment improved but remained in negative territory as the employment sub-index moved to 45 in September 2010 from 43 in August 2010.

The employment prospects index (six months hence) dipped into negative territory in September 2010 after being in positive territory at 51 in August 2010.

“This negative reading was the first since October 2009,” Sacci said.—Sapa