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South Africa business mood ticks up after virus curbs eased

Budget on 23 February key.
Image: Bloomberg

An index measuring South African business sentiment rose to a three-month high in January after coronavirus restrictions were eased following the country’s exit from a fourth wave of infections.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry business confidence index rose to 94.1, from 92 in December, the group said Wednesday in an emailed statement.

Africa’s most-industrialised economy is still reeling from the impact of the pandemic and the imposition of travel bans after its discovery of the omicron variant, supply-chain blockages, deadly riots and looting that erupted in July, port stoppages and on-going electricity supply constraints.

While last year’s “non-economic incidents had a negative impact on the economy, business resilience and tenacity” kept it from being thrown into uncertainty and disarray, Sacci said. “Despite the fact that the business climate is not ideal, particularly for attracting much-needed fixed investment, society is determined to work toward a more stable social environment and a growing economy.”

It’s critical for Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to set a clear path forward in his annual budget scheduled for February 23, the group said. Addressing high levels of government and household debt, maladministration and corruption in the public sector and restoring the country’s investment-grade credit ratings are key to reviving business and investor sentiment, according to Sacci.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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