The Trade Activity Index (TAI) receded in February to 48 points from 62 in January, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Wednesday.
“After the surprise in the Trade Activity Index (TAI) in January 2015, it pulled back into negative territory in February,” Sacci said in a statement.
“The random surprise move in January 2015 was thus corrected in February as the TAI again measured 48. The seasonally adjusted Trade Activity Index (TAI) likewise receded to 48 in February 2015.”
Sacci said the fact that there were fewer trading days in February had an impact, the non-seasonally adjusted TAI was also six points lower than in February 2014.
In October and November 2014, the TAI improved but retreated to 48 in December 2014.
“The correction in the trade conditions index is more in line with the slow economic growth expected for 2015,” Sacci said.
“Any excess domestic demand will most probably find its way towards imports and cause an even larger deficit on the current account of the balance of payments.”
Import volumes were trending higher in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Sacci said the constraints in the electricity supply had a “more sous effect on trade than first anticipated, especially small and medium size businesses”.