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Neren Rau, SACCI CEO

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Business Confidence Index (BCI) improved by 0.9 index points to reach 92.7 points in March 2014, said the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci).

“The Sacci Business Confidence Index (BCI) improved by 0.9 index points in March 2014 to 92.7 after clawing back 1.4 index points in February 2014,” it said on 8 March 2014.

The March 2014 BCI was 2.3 index points higher than the 90.4 recorded in March 2013.

“It is the first time since June 2011 that the BCI is at a better level than the corresponding month of the previous year,” said Sacci.

Following the majority of sub-indices of the BCI having improved between January and February 2014, two more indices turned positive in March 2014, while three remained unchanged.

“Important sub-indices on real economic activity continued to improve in February, with only export volumes declining from a high level in January 2014,” said Sacci.

The chamber further expressed concern about unemployment and rising interest rates that have an impact on consumers and business.

“Sacci is concerned about the consumer going through a difficult period and experiencing stress from various sources. This debilitates the consumer-business partnership that underpins greater levels of economic activity. Unemployment, rising interest rates, rising debt and inflation are among the issues adversely impacting consumers and business alike.”

“Some 15% of total consumer revenue is derived from own businesses and this revenue stream is dependent on a positive business climate and improving real consumer demand.”

There are no signs at this stage that the approaching national election is impacting the business psyche. South Africans will head to the polls on 7 May 2014.

“The outcome of the election and the policy positions taken thereafter will no doubt have a profound impact on business confidence, as would the emergence of a stronger consumer market and global geo-political developments,” concludes Sacci.

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