SA Business Confidence Dips Amid SOE Strife & Municipal Morass

Riyaz Patel

South African business confidence declined in July as import and export volumes, manufacturing and new vehicle sales all fell, according to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

SACCI’s monthly business confidence index fell to 92.0 in July from 93.3 in June, the business body said.

Six of the thirteen sub-indices declined in July from June, SACCI said.

Those included merchandise import and export volumes, manufacturing, vehicle sales and the real value of building plans passed.

Data last month showed unemployment had risen to an 11-year high, with earlier figures showing that economic growth shrank in the first quarter of 2019.

“The high level of optimism that existed immediately after the election of President Ramaphosa, is being affected by indications that the ruling party is divided on policy, political and factional lines,” SACCI said in a statement.

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SACCI added that the poor financial position of state-owned enterprises and municipalities “continues to be a huge cause for concern.”

The Chamber added that “the manner in which SOEs and municipalities are led, managed and operated is the primary cause of their problems.”

Struggling state-owned firms like power utility Eskom and South African Airways rely on government bailouts for survival, straining the national budget.

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