Wednesday, 14 December 2016 11:30

Trade Conditions Stay Flat

According to the November 2016 SACCI trade survey, trade conditions remained restricted. The seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index (TAI) remained in negative territory measuring 49 compared to 48 in October 2016. However, the seasonally adjusted TAI was 6 index points stronger in November 2016 than in November 2015. November usually has an extraordinary seasonal element due to business-to-business trade being concluded before the holiday period of December.


Respondents brought up political leadership, retrenchments, stiffer competition, down-sizing of businesses, the weak economy and shrinking markets as inhibiting factors during this month’s survey. Gross domestic expenditure volumes (-0.5%) and total export volumes (0%) year-on-year changes, reflected the restricted demand that faces the South African economy. The slower economic growth by South Africa’s major trading partners, subdued local economic growth and the local debt squeeze on the public sector and households were seen by respondents as major causes for stale trade conditions.

Although new orders and sales volumes improved in November, supplier deliveries and inventories declined. Sales volumes increased from 52 in October to 59 in November 2016 due to the strong seasonal factor. There was a slowdown in current sales and input prices, but six-month price expectations increased on sales as well as inputs.

The employment sub-index declined notably on six-month employment prospects, but decreased only slightly by 1 index point to 48 between October and November. It appears that less temporary staff than usual will be appointed over the holiday period.

Trade expectations (TEI) remained in positive terrain on 55 index points in November 2016. The seasonally adjusted Trade Expectations Index however improved from 57 to 59. Sales and new order expectations both improved in November.

It is expected that trade volumes and trade conditions will remain tight over the holiday period although the typical shift in trade will favour retail trade over the festive season.

For more information and infographic, click here
Alan Mukoki
SACCI CEO Cell: 082 551 1159
Richard Downing
Economist for SACCI Cell: 082 822 5566