Johannesburg - Current trade conditions as reflected by the
trade activity index (Tai) deteriorated to a seasonally adjusted 45 in
September from 48 in August, indicating business perceives trade conditions to
be under pressure.
The figure was released on Tuesday by the South African
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci).
The results indicated that overall trade conditions remained
weak, Sacci said, adding conditions had been in negative territory since April.
The Tai average of 47.8 for the first nine months of 2011
was 1.6 index points lower than the average of 49.4 for the first nine months
of 2010, Sacci reported.
The sales volumes index at 49 fell into negative territory
after recovering to 53 in August. The other components of trade activity were
virtually unchanged, although the employment index improved by two points to
Expectations in the trade environment slipped marginally as
the trade expectations index declined to 55 from 57 in August.
The outlook for sales, new orders and supplies for the next
six months was slightly lower.
Employment prospects remained unchanged at 49.
Supplies were expected to become tighter as the index dipped
by three points to 52 in September.
Pressure on sales and input prices was expected to rise in
the coming months. Sacci said although current sales prices were unchanged at
56, input prices increased by 4 index points to 67 from August to September.
The six-month outlook for sales prices rose from 62 in July
to 68 in September.
Input price expectations increased by 7 points from July to
73 in September.
"Inflationary pressures are rising and will become more
widespread deriving from basic inputs such as fuel and public utility
services," said Sacci economist Richard Downing.
The latest weakening of the rand would also have adverse
impacts on cost structures, the business organisation said.