Filomena Scalise

Johannesburg - South Africa's trade conditions improved in January despite volatile conditions, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Wednesday.

It said the conditions rose to 52 points in January, from 42 points in December last year.

The seasonally adjusted trade activity index (TAI) - which indicates how businesses feel about current trading conditions -

increased to 54 points in January,

An index level below 50 represents negative territory, while one above 50 is positive.

“The seasonally adjusted TAI was four index points higher than in January 2012, “ Sacci said in a statement.

“The improvement in the TAI in January was on the back of business-to-business trade that normalised after the holiday season.”

The six-month trade expectations index (TEI) - which measures consumer perceptions about the projected period - increased to 65

points in January from 60 points in December last year.

The seasonally adjusted TEI improved from 59 to 63.

“All sub-components of trade activity shed the pessimism of December 2012 and were positive on present as well as expected trade conditions,” Sacci said.

“Although present and expected conditions are usually positive in January, improved new orders stand out as an indication that the positive outlook for the next six months may realise.”

Sales prices also increased in January to 64 points, and input prices to 71.

The index on expected sales prices rose to 73, while the index on expected input prices increased to 66.

The employment index remained in negative territory at 49 points.

However, the employment expectations index for the next six months increased to 56 points from 53 in December 2012. - Sapa