Johannesburg - Trade activity improved in November,
suggesting stronger retail activity the festive season, the SA Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Tuesday.
Sacci's non-seasonally adjusted trade activity index (TAI)
increased to 57 in November from 52 in October.
"Even if the TAI was adjusted for seasonal factors, the
index was high, at 53 in November compared to 50 in October", said Sacci
economist Richard Downing.
When compared to a year ago, the seasonally adjusted TAI was
four index points higher.
"The improvement in the TAI in the last two months
suggests stronger retail activity over the Christmas season.
"The sub-components of trade activity, apart from
employment, turned positive in October, and the progressive trend continued
into November", he said.
Following the labour disruptions in August and September,
business-to-business trade recovered in November.
"The recovering sales and new orders that started in
October, remained vibrant in November 2012, but the build-up in inventories
slowed marginally from 53 to 52", commented Downing.
Supplier deliveries remained in positive territory in
November, at 57 from 55 in October.
"Sales and input prices did not change meaningfully
between October and November", he added.
Downing also predicted that the impact on expected prices of
sales and inputs would be more visible in price indices for the next six
Sales prices were expected to increase by a further three
index points to 68, which was 13 points up from July 2012.
Input prices were expected to increase by two points to 75,
which would be 12 points up from July. However, the six-month trade
expectations index (TEI) declined to 51 in November from 53 in October. This
was the lowest figure for the TEI since June 2009.
"The uncertain circumstances in the South African
economy and abroad, and growing domestic price pressures continued to lower the
outlook for trade conditions in the first few months of 2013," Downing
Employment conditions in the trade environment eased in
November and moved into positive territory as temporary seasonal employment
opportunities became available in the trade environment.
In November, the employment index increased by four points
Employment prospects also improved slightly, from 46 in
October to 47.