Trade Expectations Weaken
Trade conditions remained subdued in November 2019 and in negative territory. The seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index (TAI), as a measure of recent trade conditions, improved slightly by one point to 43 in November 2019. Over the next six months trade is expected to decline with the seasonally adjusted Trade Expectations Index (TEI) down from 49 October to 46 in November. Present trade activity and trade expectations were on about a similar level than November last year.
All components of trade activity are expected to decline over the next six months except for sales prices and input costs that 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 November.
Respondents mentioned power instability as a debilitating factor affecting the business climate negatively as this is likely to continue for some time to come – as witnessed by the insecurity in power supply in the last fortnight. 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 due to uncertainty with the expropriation bill issued by government. 2019 is being cited as a particular difficult year for local and international trade. Sporadic strikes at SOEs and disruptions had a bearing on the trade environment.
The employment sub index was virtually unchanged at 40 – one point down on October, but employment opportunities remain tight as the sub-index on employment prospects for the next six months decreased to 38 from 40.
Released by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry at their offices in Illovo, Johannesburg.
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Economist for SACCI Cell: 082 822 5566
Trade Conditions Survey:
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