Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Business confidence improved slightly in July as recent data, including mining and manufacturing figures, pointed to slightly more positive growth.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said business confidence had regained some ground that was lost due to political developments, policy uncertainty and the credit rating downgrades.

The Sacci Business Confidence index was up 0.4 index points to 95.3 in July 2017 from 94.9 in June 2017 and was 0.7 index points lower than in July 2016.

Sacci said in a statement released on Tuesday: "Business confidence, although still relatively low, remains sensitive to political and uncertain economic policy positions.

"Deliberations on economic policy continue and some rogue statements by political role players on policy positions adversely affect investor and business confidence."

The biggest positive contributions to the monthly improvement to the index were more vehicle sales, more building plans passed, lower inflation and higher share prices.

Despite the month-on-month improvement, the year-on-year movements of the subindices show that the business climate deteriorated from April 2016 to April 2017. The slight slump in business confidence comes after less merchandise import volumes, higher energy costs and lower share prices than a year ago.

Sacci added: "Perhaps the present more stable business confidence could inspire investor confidence in SA — here and abroad."

The Sacci index, however, has been at odds with the Rand Merchant Bank Bureau for Economic Research Business Confidence index as well as the reaction from business in recent months.

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