/ 3 May 2012

Business confidence on a steady decline

Business confidence dropped last month, declining further after a three-year low was reached in March, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Thursday.

Its Business Confidence Index (BCI) for April sank by 1.4 index points to 94.3 — 8.2 points below the April 2011 level.

“An unstable and weakening business environment accompanies the volatility in the BCI at present,” Sacci said in a statement.

April saw short term positive improvements after a poor performance in March. Two of the six financial sub-indices were positive and one was neutral in April 2012.

The real economic environment was marginally more encouraging with three of the seven sub-indices impacting positively on the business mood in April 2012.

Compared with the same period one year ago, five of the 13 sub-indices improved for April 2012.

Credit extension figures for March 2012 had increased markedly.

“Given the current levels of household debt, borrowing should be done with circumspection to avert painful adjustments later on,” Sacci advised.

Business was ready to accommodate sound sustainable consumer demand, the chamber said. — Sapa