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Slight increase in trade activity
The Trade Activity Index (TAI) showed a slight increase in June, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted composite TAI increased slightly by two index points to 52 in June after declining by a point to 50 in May.

“Although overall trade conditions remained weak, the TAI hovered around positive territory since February 2014.

“With the economy performing at low levels, domestic and international trade still reflect reasonable performance but with slightly lower sales volumes than in 2013. The TAI is a notable 5 index points lower than in June 2013,” said Sacci.

According to Sacci, the sales volumes sub-index remained on 52 in June, while the new orders sub-index declined marginally to 48, confirming weaker but stable prospects.

Supplier deliveries appeared to be under slight pressure as the sub-index on deliveries decreased by four points to 54. Inventories remained virtually unchanged month-on-month at 53, although lower than the 57 of 2013.

“It appears that local traders are now finding it easier to push through price increases as the higher prices of imported goods and services provide the room to do so.

“The rand exchange rate weakened by 2.5% between June and May 2014 as the rand came under renewed pressure. Expected prices for both sales and inputs are to increase over the next six months although by less than expected in January,” said Sacci.

The seasonally adjusted trade expectations (TEI) index decreased by four points to 55.

Expectations for the sales volume component of trade activity also declined by five index points to 56 in June 2014.

“Current employment conditions remained stable at 48 but were still in negative territory in June 2014. The prospects for employment in the trade sector improved slightly to 49 following the earlier increase by 2 index points in May 2014,” said Sacci. –

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