The South African Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SACCI) Business Confidence Index (BCI) for September 2013 improved slightly by 0.9 index point from 90.5 in August to 91.4 in September 2013.
This is the first time in five months that the BCI moved above the level of 90 index points. The September 2013 BCI was only 0.3 index points below the level of September 2012 but still well below the 100 of the 2010 base year.
In contrast to August, the month-on-month changes in the BCI sub-indices in September were tipping more towards the positive. On a year-on-year basis, six sub-indices made negative contributions to the BCI, six made positive contributions and one was neutral.
The improved levels of the municipal services index, merchandise export volumes, manufacturing output and building plans approved, as compared to last year, made notable positive contributions to business confidence.
The year on year changes in the financial environment were less reassuring as inflation, private borrowing, the rand exchange rate and precious metal prices had a negative impact on business confidence.
SACCI is concerned that, while the NDP envisages that gross fixed capital formation of 30% of GDP is needed by 2030, the ratio currently stands at about 21%.
In the second quarter of 2013, almost no real growth in fixed investment spending took place in the construction, equipment and transportation industries.
The imperative for foreign capital to augment and finance investment needs and the volatility of such capital flows are of concern.
Business confidence at considerably higher levels than at present, and which is supportive of investor confidence, is a critical requirement in generating local fixed investment and sustaining financial inflows from abroad.