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Business confidence among SA owners of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plummeted in the third quarter of 2021 as unfavourable economic conditions were worsened by load-shedding, high fuel prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The SME index compiled by Business Partners, which provides loans to small businesses and was founded by billionaire Johann Rupert, shows that confidence among small business owners that their businesses would grow in the next 12 months plummeted to 33% in the third quarter 2021. That’s down from 61% in the second quarter of 2021 and sharply down from the 72% recorded in the third quarter of 2020 when businesses were first emerging from the ravages of the initial series of hard lockdowns...

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