The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) says trade conditions remained in negative territory in November.
The seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index (TAI), as a measure of recent trade conditions, improved by one point to 43 in November.
Sacci expects trade over the next six months to decline, considering that the seasonally adjusted Trade Expectations Index (TEI) decreased from 49 in October to 46 in November.
Trade activity and trade expectations were at a similar level to that of November last year.
Sacci anticipates that all components of trade activity will decline over the next six months, except for sales prices and input costs, which are expected to ease further.
During November, sales volumes, new orders and prices were sustained. Black Friday, although not having a noticeable effect in this survey, as it took place late in November, would nevertheless have had a positive impact on sales volumes in the last week of the month.
Sacci says respondents mentioned power instability as a debilitating factor affecting the business climate negatively, as the instability was likely to continue for some time.
Meanwhile, market conditions in the trade environment remain difficult, with continued pressure on sales prices, while input costs remain high.
The property market for offshore properties is active despite a depressed domestic housing market, owing to uncertainty over the expropriation Bill under consideration by government.
The employment subindex was virtually unchanged at 40 – one point lower than in October – but employment opportunities remain tight as the subindex on employment prospects for the next six months decreased to 38 from 40.
This year has been cited as a particularly difficult year for local and international trade. Sporadic strikes at State-owned entities and disruptions had a bearing on the trade environment.