Sacci index shows growth

BUSINESS confidence, as measured by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was 99.5 in February from 97.1 in January and 99.1 in December.

The Sacci BCI gauges the mood within the business community on what they are doing in response to economic conditions.

This index uses 13 sub-indexes which include manufacturing, exports, imports, vehicle sales, construction of buildings, share prices, inflation and rand exchange rate.

The February reading was the highest level since June last year, while the January level was the lowest level since May 2010. The February 2012 figure was 2.4 points below February 2011, while the January 2012 BCI was 6.0 index points below the January 2011 level.

From a confidence perspective, the economy showed an improvement in February compared with a year ago while the financial environment remained neutral towards business confidence.

The February 2012-13 budget emphasised economic sustainability and the commitments to larger infrastructure expenditure by the public sector provides the basis for broader economic activity which would enhance business confidence. Continued labour protest activity and the rising cost of fuel remain constraining factors on business optimism.

In February 2012 only four of the 13 sub-indices were negative. Five of the six financial sub-indices were positive on a month-to-month basis compared with only two in January 2012.

The year-on-year impact of the real economy was more positive in February than in January 2012 with six of the seven sub-indices reflecting improved performance.

Although more year-on-year changes were positive, the rate of improvement was still lagging the long-term performance trend of the economy. Business confidence was still failing to reflect real positive economic momentum.