Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:30

Strained Trade Conditions

The seasonal adjusted Trade Activity Index (TAI) remained on 46 in February 2017 – replicating the weaker trade conditions of January. The non-seasonally adjusted TAI was up to 48 from 45 in January 2017 with all the components of trade either positive or unchanged. The seasonally adjusted TAI of February 2017 was 4 points higher than the February 2016 seasonally adjusted TAI.

The year-on-year advances of trade conditions in December 2016, and January and February 2017, were rather due to dismal trade conditions at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 than recent decent trade conditions.


Respondents mentioned financial losses in the past two months, rising crime, political bickering, poor economic conditions, lower rand prices of imported goods owing to the strong rand, and cash-flow problems by small and medium businesses, as matters contributing to tense trade conditions.

The sales volumes index increased from 48 in January to 56 in February 2017 while new orders rose marginally by one point to 44. The inventory index rose by 4 points to 48.The selling price index remained on 52 while the input price index declined by 9 points to 51 – indicating that inflationary pressures have retreated further in February. Inflationary expectations remained almost unchanged in February 2017, but still high at 67 and 75 respectively for the selling and input price indices.

The Trade Expectations Index (TEI) improved by 4 points to 63 index points in February 2017 and remained in positive terrain. Although expectations do not have a strong seasonal factor, the seasonally adjusted Trade Expectations Index improved from 59 in January 2017 to 61 in February 2017. Expectations on sales, new orders and inventories were all in positive territory.

The employment sub-index improved slightly from 44 in January 2017 to 45 in February 2017. Employment prospects for the next 6 months also increased slightly as the index rose from 49 to 50. The national minimum wage did not appear to have an effect on employment prospects in the trade environment.

Released by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the SACCI offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg

For more information and infographic, click here

Alan Mukoki
SACCI CEO Cell: 082 551 1159
Richard Downing
Economist for SACCI Cell: 082 822 5566