Chamber: South African Business Confidence Rises In September

Chamber: South African Business Confidence Rises In September

Improved share prices and a stronger rand that offset the effect of strikes are credited in September with sending South African business confidence to its highest level in five months, according to a Bloomberg report.

The rand has gained 3.1 percent against the dollar since reaching a four-year low on Aug. 28. It fell 0.3 percent to 10.0482 against the dollar as of 11:21 a.m. in Johannesburg, the report said.

Reserve Bank Gov. Gill Marcus said on Oct. 1 the central bank remains concerned about the effect of strikes on Africa’s largest economy. Thousands of workers in mining, manufacturing and construction put down their tools in labor disputes since August. Car makers including Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Ford Motor Co. (F:US) lost an estimated $2 billion due to work stoppages.

Despite this, the business confidence index rose from 90.5 in August to 91.4 in September, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. The index is compiled from 13 economic indicators including retail sales, inflation and financial gauges such as a stock-market index and currency.

“The ongoing labor disputes and accompanying disruptions of the economy contributed to the economy not gaining pace despite glimmers of hope in some domestic and global economic activities,” the Johannesburg-based chamber said.

Higher business confidence is needed to help boost investment in construction, equipment and transport industries, the chamber said.