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SA business confidence weakened in November as trade flows fell after a new wave of Covid-19 infections led to renewed restrictions among the nation’s major trading partners.

The Business Confidence Index (BCI) compiled by the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry dropped to 92.8 in November from 94.9 in the previous month, the group said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

​Business confidence dimmed in November. The SA Chamber of Commerce's morale indicator declined to 92.8 points from a reading of 94.9 previously, largely due to a lag in exports and imports. Business Day TV spoke to Sacci CEO Alan Mukoki for more detail.

“The foreign trade account was the main malefactor that pulled the BCI down — month on month and year on year,” the chamber said. “Lower merchandise import volumes and merchandise export volumes contributed to the decline in foreign trade.”

The mood is likely to be dampened further by the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant last month that’s prompted more than 90 nations to ban travel to and from SA as the country prepares for its summer holiday season, and is likely to likely crimp economic growth in the fourth quarter. 

SACCI criticised the manner in which SA scientists announced the detection of the Omicron variant.

“The disclosure by South African scientists sparked greater concern and negatively impacted the business climate,” said the chamber. “These announcements should be made with greater circumspection taking account of broader implications. Hopefully the rushed decisions by other countries on travel restrictions will be tempered as more information on the omicron variant emerges.”

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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