Filomena Scalise

Johannesburg - Sacci's Business Confidence Index (BCI) improved by 1.4 index points from 90.5 in January to 91.9 in February, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Thursday.

“This was still 1.1 index points below the February 2013 level,” it said in a statement.

Sacci said there were no signs of the 2014 budget and the State of the Nation address having a distinct effect on the business climate.

“No material changes took place in February that would either positively or negatively influence the business environment...”

It said six of the 13 sub-indices, from which the BCI is compiled, improved between January and February with three of them unchanged and four declining.

On a year-to-year basis, nine sub-indices had declined in February, three were positive and one was unchanged.

“Economic activity failed to gather pace and the year-on-year data supports only a marginal improvement in February 2014 as compared to January 2014,” it said.

“A tighter monetary environment characterised by rising interest rates and cost pressures further impedes real economic activity... Although global markets and developed economies have shown signs of recovering, this momentum has yet to benefit the South African economy.” - Sapa