A poll of CEOs found average confidence swung to a pessimistic 38.7% in the second quarter from a slightly optimistic 51.4% in the first quarter. The quarterly Merchantec CEO confidence index found the majority of bosses surveyed were pessimistic about growth prospects in 2017 due to political instability, SA’s credit downgrades by all three major ratings agencies, ineffective empowerment policies along with tax increases. The survey echoed a Rand Merchant Bank sponsored business confidence index released on June 14 done by Stellenbosch University’s Bureau of Economic Research, which found business confidence in the second quarter collapsed 11 points to 29, the lowest since 2009. The Merchantec CEO survey found that confidence feel in all six segments into which it splits the economy, taking four that were previously optimistic to the pessimistic side of 50%. The confidence of the CEOs of basic materials producers recorded the largest decrease, falling to 31.67% from 54.38%. The dro...

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