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JOHANNESBURG - Business confidence in the South African economy rose in September, helped by higher export volumes, new vehicle sales and lower inflation, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s monthly business confidence index rose to 93.3 from 90.5 in August.

The index struck a 2-1/2 year high in January, but it fell in six out of the subsequent seven months as the euphoria surrounding the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the ruling African National Congress was derailed by weak economic data.

Four of the 13 sub-indices surveyed in September improved compared with August, while five were unchanged and four were negative, showing that South African businesses are still under pressure on many fronts.

Ramaphosa is trying to revive the economy after a decade of stagnation under former president Jacob Zuma.

The former trade union leader unveiled a “stimulus package” last month and has called an investment conference to drum up investor interest in South Africa.

“The initiatives of the stimulus package, announced by the President, should be outlined in more detail over the coming months,” the chamber of commerce said. “It remains imperative to create and build institutional capabilities to implement and translate policy, plans and ideas into actual outcomes.” 

REUTERS