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Business confidence rises in November

Expectations that government will implement policies to boost the economy enhance the business mood, Sacci says.

South Africa’s business confidence index edged higher in November, helped by expectations the government will implement policies to boost the economy, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci) monthly business confidence index (BCI) rose to 95.1 in November from 92.9 in October.

“The anticipation for changes in domestic economic policy, the performance of the global economy and a probable fresh approach towards business and investor expectations in Southern Africa further enhance the business mood,” Sacci said in a statement.

“However, public finance matters and economic growth prospects are important phenomena that have to be attended to urgently.”

South African President Jacob Zuma last month called for concrete measures to urgently boost growth after S&P Global Ratings downgraded the local currency debt to sub-investment grade, while foreign currency debt was pushed deeper into “junk” territory.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba outlined a gloomy economic outlook in his medium-term budget speech in October, saying the country faces sluggish growth, shortfalls in revenue and costly bailouts of struggling state-owned companies.

Moody’s, which rates South African debt on their lowest investment grade rung of Baa3, placed the country on review for a downgrade.

Both agencies cited deterioration in South Africa’s economic growth prospects and public finances.

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