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Survey: Manufacturers less confident

Aug 16 2012 13:12 I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - South African manufacturers were less confident of domestic economic and business conditions in the second quarter of this year‚ evidenced by an increase in the number of those reporting poor to fragile business confidence to 43% in the second quarter from 33% the quarter before.

The Manufacturing Circle released its quarterly bulletin on Thursday‚ which showed that business confidence in the manufacturing sector was fragile during the second quarter.

The second quarter's survey was completed by 67 small‚ medium and large businesses as opposed to 49 that participated in the first quarter.

The proportion of surveyed firms considering business conditions to be stable reached 33% in the second quarter‚ down from 45% in the first quarter.

“The industry remains more vulnerable than in the previous quarter‚” Iraj Abedian‚ economist and chief executive of Pan African Investment and Research Services said.

The survey also indicated that the sector was losing jobs momentum. Manufacturing shed 44 000 jobs in the second quarter.

Just over 60% of surveyed firms reported positive changes to their operating profits and cost of capital. The recent interest rate reduction last month could further improve manufacturers' cost of capital‚ according to Abedian.

“Their cost of capital has gone down by 0.5%. That makes a difference‚” Abedian said.

Most surveyed firms' long-term outlook for the next 24 months was for business confidence to likely remain stable.

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