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South Africa’s business confidence is on the rise, new survey shows

(The Southern African Times) – The Rand Merchant Bank/Bureau of Economic Research (RMB/BER) Business Confidence Index released on Wednesday showed that business confidence increased by 15 points to 50 in South Africa in the second quarter of 2021.

The survey covered about 1,300 business people spread across the building, manufacturing, retail, wholesale and motor trade sectors. The 50 points meant that the number of respondents satisfied with prevailing business conditions now equal those that are unsatisfied.

It is “an outcome we have not seen in years”, said Ettienne le Roux, chief economist at RMB.

The outcome showed that confidence rebounded especially sharply in the manufacturing, retail trade and motor trade sectors. By contrast, sentiment among building contractors and the wholesale trade sector improved only marginally.

“In the end, for the current cyclical economic recovery to develop into a durable business-cycle upswing, jobs must be created, and for that to happen, fixed investment must accelerate. To this end, it would help if the government fast-tracks its infrastructure drive, while simultaneously, and speedily, implements overdue business-friendly reforms,” he said.

Le Roux pointed out that there are some risks like COVID-19 third wave, the danger of additional lockdown restrictions being imposed and load shedding which could easily knock confidence in the period ahead.

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