Business confidence steady in January

Business confidence held steady in January compared with December, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Thursday.

The Sacci Business Confidence Index (BCI) was 87,4 in January, compared with December’s 87,6, Sacci said in a statement.

Compared with January 2010, confidence had shown a marked improvement.

“The BCI was 6,2 index points higher in January 2011 than in January 2010 and this is the largest year-on-year difference since March 2010, when the index started to exceed the previous year’s level.”

Nine of the sub-indices making up the BCI gathered positive momentum compared with a year ago.

Sacci said those sub-indices still in negative territory should recover as economic growth improves during 2011, provided relative price stability is maintained.

No important changes
On a month-on-month comparison, the BCI did not show important changes in January 2011, except for the sub-index on the rand exchange rate.

“All the other indices remained steady, while the positive contribution of manufacturing was notable.”

Sacci said the World Economic Forum, held last week in Davos, Switzerland, identified its theme for 2011 as “Shared Norms for the New Reality”.

“The challenge remains how South Africa will align itself to these realities by being an active participant to the benefit of the world economy and domestic economic role-players.

“The theme of South Africa’s competitiveness should underpin all dialogue and negotiations between government, business and labour in 2011,” Sacci said.

South Africa needs to deal with some issues where global competitiveness ratings and the rigidity of markets raise serious questions for sustainable growth over the longer term.

“Business confidence would benefit in both the short and long term if there are active steps towards addressing these concerns,” Sacci said.—Sapa

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