BCI increases in March

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pretoria-South Africa's Business Confidence Index (BCI) increased by 0.2 index points to 83.2 in March says the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

"The March 2010 BCI is 4.3 points higher than in March 2009 - the first year-on-year increase since September 2007. The BCI registered its lowest level of 78.9 in March 2009 during the present downward phase of the BCI which peaked at 103.5 in December 2006," said Sacci.

The chamber said although the February and March 2010 readings showed moderate improvements "the BCI remained range bound since September 2009."

"It appears that most economic activities have progressed beyond their lower turning points but the overall level of economic activity remains low and lacks vigour," it said.

Of significant positive impact was the positive changes in export and import volumes that moved from the previous month's levels.

"The positive moves, in particular the year-on-year changes, signifies a well established turnaround in certain sub-indices. Some sectors remain subdued by a recessionary lag, especially niche trade sectors and catering and accommodation," said Sacci.

The financial sector was found to have had turned more positive on a short term and longer term outlook.

"The latest economic and market-related data suggest that the economic recovery is consolidating and progressing from recent recessionary conditions that prevailed in the world more recently. Local economic support for recovery remains constrained from the consumer side while the fixed investment cycle is currently slowing down," said the chamber.

Sacci said that enhanced participation in international trade is crucial for economic growth.

"South Africa needs to manage its global trade participation beyond being a mainstay commodity producer and price taker," it added.