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Trade conditions improve in March
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Trade activity remained in positive territory in March 2014, despite tighter financial conditions and financial stresses faced by the consumer.

Releasing the trade conditions survey on Tuesday, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said loans and advances by monetary institutions helped improve the business climate.

“Loans and advances by monetary institutions to private businesses increased by 12.7% in February 2014 and assisted businesses in coping with mounting cost pressures.

“The sales volumes index increased from 55 in February 2014 to 59 in March 2014, while the new orders index remained at 57. Consistency of new orders confirms the relatively positive outlook for trade activity in the next few months. With the inventory index at 48 in March 2014, stock levels remained almost unchanged,” the Chamber said.

Sacci also said the sales volumes index increased from 55 points in February 2014 to 59 in March 2014, while the new orders index remained at 57.

Consistency of new orders, the Chamber said, confirmed the relatively positive outlook for trade activity in the next few months.

“The seasonally adjusted trade expectations index (TEI) remained at 58 in March 2014 for the third consecutive month. Expectations for the components of trade activity were well into positive territory and did not alter the cautious but positive outlook.

“Current employment conditions deteriorated slightly into negative territory in March 2014, as the employment sub-index declined from 50 to 49. The prospects for employment in the trade sector improved slightly, as the sub-index increased from 52 in February to 54 in March 2014,” Sacci said. – SAnews.gov.za
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