South Africa Business Confidence Edges Higher, Down on Year Ago

A worker takes a break from sorting avocados at a farm factory in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga province, about 51 miles (82 km) north of the Swaziland border, South Africa, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

By Prinesha Naidoo

Sacci business confidence index rises to 93.3 from 93
Poor sentiment adds to risk of second successive recession

South African business confidence ticked higher in June, but remains below levels from a year ago after weak economic data and power blackouts in the first half of 2019.

An index measuring sentiment rose to 93.3 in June from 93 in May, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Wednesday, without providing further information. Details about the performance of the sub-indexes will be published by Friday, it said in an emailed statement.
Key Insights

Stubbornly low South African business confidence adds to the risk that the economy may fall into its second recession in as many years. The gauge has been below 95 for the past five months, close to the three-decade low 89.6 of August 2017.
Africa’s most-industrialized economy is stuck in its longest downward cycle since 1945, remaining weak for the 67th consecutive month in June, according to data from the Reserve Bank.
While mining and manufacturing output show signs of revival after a series of rolling blackouts hamstrung production and led to a 3.2% annualized decline in gross domestic product in the first quarter, weak sentiment threatens to derail a sustainable recovery in the two sectors that account for 23% of GDP.
Business sentiment jumped to a two-year high in early 2018 after Cyril Ramaphosa won the leadership of the ruling African National Congress and the country but slumped as reforms were stalled.

— With assistance by Simbarashe Gumbo

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