The Trade Activity Index (TAI) remained positive, shifting from 57 in October to 59 in November, after being in negative territory the previous three months, according to South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) Trade Convention Survey.
The TAI is two index points above the level of November last year.
Although the economy was weakened by low export volumes and strong import volumes, SACCI said there was a relative improvement in retail sales volumes compared to earlier this year.
However retail sales were impacted by electricity shortages in November this year, in absence of such constraints, higher retails sales figures were expected.
(READ MORE: Trade conditions remain tight & in negative territory)
Sales volumes declined slightly while the new orders sub-index improved from 58 to 83 in November, both indices recovered from 47 in September this year.
Supplier delivers remained unchanged but inventories picked up by seven index points to 62 in anticipation of the holiday period ahead.
Price pressure on inputs decreased from 63 to 59 while the sales price index increased by one index point.
“Tight trade conditions continued to leverage price pressures, but the recent weakening of the rand and the high import propensity for durable consumer goods might induce further inflationary pressures. The lower fuel price may counter some of the price pressures,” said SACCI.
(READ MORE: SACCI concerned about S.Africa's economic prospects)
The Trade Expectations Index was sensitive to concerns about electricity supply continuity although respondents to the SACCI November 2014 Trade Survey remained positive about trade condition for the coming six months. The seasonally adjusted expectations index decreased from 65 in October to 61 in November.
SACCI said that employment opportunities in the trade environment were also sensitive to growing concerns about access to power however the employment index remaining positive at 51, compared to 52 in October.
While prospects for employment remained positive, the expectations index declined to 51 in November.