Johannesburg - Trade conditions marginally declined in February, but remained in positive territory, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Wednesday.
Sacci's Trade Activity Index (TAI) declined from 52 in January to 51 in February.
Although the index recorded a one point decline, the TAI was still higher than it was in December 2012, when it recorded a low 42.
The seasonally-adjusted TAI also declined by five index points to 49 in February 2013, from 54 in January 2013.
Sacci said the decline in the seasonally-adjusted TAI was concerning when viewed against the depressed business climate, as reflected by the Sacci Business Confidence Index.
All sub-components of the TAI were marginally lower than in January 2013, apart from supplier deliveries.
Supplier deliveries improved to 53 from 47 in January 2013, with new orders barely remaining in positive territory.
The Trade Expectations Index (TEI) for the next six months fell from 65 in January to 63 in February.
Sacci CEO Neren Rau said the impact of a weak rand on import bills for fuel and capital equipment substantially increased projections for higher inflation.
The index on input prices increased to 73, four points higher than what it was in February 2012.
“Employment conditions in the trade environment remained tight in February 2013, with the index moving deeper into negative territory from 49 in January 2013 to 45,” he said.
The index on short-term employment expectations declined from 56 in January to 54 in February. - Sapa