Improving trade conditions boost for SA markets

JoburgThe South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) has revealed that trade conditions in March 2012 continued to improve after they recovered into positive territory in the previous month

According to the SACCI, the non-seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index (TAI) increased by three points from 57 in February to 60 in March, while the seasonally adjusted TAI also gained 3 points to 59.

Sales and new orders also remained strong at 66 and 63 respectively, while the sales volume index was five points up on February, with new orders improving by three points.

Trade expectations remained high, added the chamber, as the Trade Expectations Index (TEI) averaged 65 for the first quarter of 2012 — higher than the 64 from the first quarter of 2011.

“The six month outlook for key components of trade contracted marginally in March 2012 and although sales and input price expectations remained high, it was somewhat lower at 69 and 76 compared to 71 and 77 respectively in February 2012,” said SACCI.

“The employment conditions in the trade environment improved during March 2012 as the index moved into positive territory from 47 to 53.  Expectations on employment conditions remained positive at 54 – down slightly from 55.”

The results offer a more optimistic outlook than that provided by SACCI’s Business Confidence Index (BCI), which revealed that business confidence declined in March 2012 by 3.8 index points to 95.7 after rising by 2.4 points in February 2012.

SACCI said its BCI reading for March 2012 was the worst since March 2009, when the BCI stood at 93.1.

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