Johannesburg - Trade conditions, which began to improve towards the end of 2011, continued to lose momentum in January, according to the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) Trade Activity Index (TAI) released on Wednesday.
"The path to improvement in trade conditions, which started in September 2010, has lost momentum," Sacci said.
The TAI for January was 49, four points above the level in January last year. It was also an increase from a seasonal low of 44 in December, but still below the key 50 level.
"The improved level of the sales volumes index since September 2010 was severely disrupted in December 2010, but recovered slightly in January 2011 to 50," Sacci said.
"As intermediary business trade is usually slow to pick up pace in the beginning of the year, trade conditions stand to improve if expectations for the months ahead (are) realised," it said.
The other components of trade activity all improved on the December levels, but remained below the stronger November 2010 levels.
Sacci said its Trade Expectations Index continued to improve and measured 64 in January 2011 after measuring 62 in December 2010.
The index for employment conditions in the trade environment improved to 47 from 44 in December 2010, but remained in negative territory.
The employment prospects index was 51. This was the second month it was in positive territory, having been in negative territory from September to November 2010.