Johannesburg - Business confidence staged a partial recovery in the third quarter of this year‚ but failed to neutralise a sharp drop seen during the second quarter‚ a leading survey showed on Wednesday.
A business confidence index (BCI) compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) and sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) rose by six points to 47 in the third quarter‚ after plunging by 11 points during the second quarter.
"While it is encouraging that the RMB/BER BCI did not extend its second quarter decline‚ the improvement in sentiment during the third quarter was small‚ with most of the respondents still downbeat about prevailing business conditions"‚ the companies said in a joint statement.
"This is reflective of underlying economic activity remaining weak‚" it added.
The survey's results indicated that the economy did not fare much better‚ if at all‚ during the third quarter‚ the statement said.
Economic growth quickened to 3.2% in the second quarter of this year from 2.7% in the first‚ but most of that increase was due to a recovery in mining output‚ which contracted sharply
in the first quarter of the year.
That rebound is unlikely to be sustained‚ given unrest and strikes in the sector‚ which is not measured by the BCI.
The BCI showed that manufacturing confidence rose by four points to 33 after an 18 point drop during the second quarter of the year.
Retail confidence also edged up by four points to 43‚ after plunging by 22 points during the second quarter.
Wholesale confidence rose by three points to 53 in the third quarter‚ while building confidence nudged up by two points to 26.
Motor trade bucked the trend‚ with confidence surging by 14 points to an 18-month high of 79 during the third quarter‚ buoyed by better sales.
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