The Business Confidence Index (BCI), which is generated monthly by SACCI, is a measure of the level of business confidence within the South African economy.
It increased by 1.1 index points to 91.9 in December 2013 from 90.8 the previous month. The index however exhibited the lowest average performance since 1999 with 91.4.
“Four sub-indices of the BCI did not move significantly between December and November 2013, five had a negative impact, while four positively influenced the BCI in December 2013. On a year-on-year basis, four sub-indices made positive contributions to the BCI, eight had a negative impact and one was neutral,” the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said.
“Major activities like exports and manufacturing improved on a year-on-year basis, while municipal services and lower real financing cost also contributed, albeit to a lesser extent, to the December 2013 uptick in the BCI.”
Vehicle sales and buildings construction also improved in December 2013. Imports and inflation, which excluded petrol, food and non-alcoholic beverages, remained neutral while retail sales, share prices, real private sector borrowing, precious metal prices and the rand exchange rate each had a negative impact on the index.
“Although business confidence was up on its November 2013 performance, the economic outlook for 2014 remains varied from cautiously optimistic to concerns about a risk prone environment,” said SACCI.
According to the chamber, the adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP) should be seen to be coherently implemented in terms of the change in direction of various policy positions and that policy decisions must be commensurate with the objectives of the NDP where its goal is to promote economic growth.
“This year’s business climate and South Africa’s economic performance for the longer-term depends on the country’s approach to: certainty in its economic policy direction, aligning policy positions with the NDP, supporting the private sector as the vanguard of economic growth, positioning to take advantage of improvements in global economic performance 2014, dealing with local short-term economic weaknesses and structural economic bottlenecks,” it said.