Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Business confidence remained flat in November.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) business confidence index (BCI) increased by 0.3 of an index point to 96.1. This is one point higher than in November 2017.

“The flattening of momentum in business confidence must be addressed in order to create a situation where investor confidence could be nurtured,” said Sacci in a statement on Thursday.

“The upward momentum of the BCI since September 2018 appears to have flattened and it is the second time this year that the business climate hesitated after encouraging steps to develop and enhanced business confidence.”

In November 2018, three sub-indices were positive month on month, while three were unchanged and seven saw declines.

The marginal increase was supported by improvements in merchandise export and import volumes, the real value of building plans passed and manufacturing output. However, the all share price index of the JSE, higher inflation, lower precious metal prices and stagnant real retail sales weighed on confidence.

“SA’s economy continues to face various limitations due to inadequate growth, growing public debt, capital outflows, world trade tensions, fiscal constraints and several sociopolitical challenges that prevent optimal economic performance,” Sacci warned.

This comes after the GDP figures released by Stats SA on Tuesday confirmed that SA had exited a recession in the third quarter of the year. Growth, however, still remains low, with the Reserve Bank expecting growth of 0.6% for the year and the National Treasury expecting 0.7%.

Last week, the RMB/BER business confidence index showed that business remained gloomy in the fourth quarter. The quarterly business confidence index fell to 31 points during the fourth quarter of 2018 from 34 points in the third quarter.