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SA business confidence slumps to 7-month low in March

Power cuts in March hurt confidence.

South African business confidence slumped to the lowest level in seven months in March, when the country suffered the deepest power cuts in more than a decade.

The index measuring sentiment fell to 91.8, the weakest reading since August, from 93.4 the previous month, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said by phone. The median estimate of three economists in a Bloomberg survey was 93.

South Africa suffered rolling blackouts for 10 consecutive days last month as state-power company Eskom removed as many as 4 000 megawatts from the system each day for almost a week as its ageing, unreliable plants struggled to meet demand.

Sentiment jumped to a two-year high in early 2018 after President Cyril Ramaphosa won the leadership of the ruling African National Congress and the country, but has since retreated as a lack of structural reforms hamstring growth. The economy hasn’t expanded by more than 2% a year since 2013.

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