South African business confidence falls

Business confidence in South Africa declined from a five-month high in February, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) says.

Sacci's BCI index dropped to 93 from 94 in January.

The measure is compiled from 13 economic indicators, including retail sales, inflation and financial gauges, such as currency.

Sacci blamed subdued economic growth and the weakened rand.

"Business confidence remained under pressure in February 2013 and, although the January 2013 Sacci BCI figure improved slightly from 93 points in December 2012 to 94, the business climate fundamentals remained weak as reflected by the critical sub-indices from which the Sacci BCI is compiled," the Johannesburg-based chamber said. "This relegates the marginal improvement in January to initial optimism about 2013."

Sacci added: "It is troubling that the financial environment appears to be restricting an already uncertain business mood.

The continued weakening of the rand was "of special concern", it said.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence also declined by 21.8 points to a score of 48 in the second half of 2012, a survey by MasterCard released on Thursday. All five key indicators of the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence decreased, with four of them showing a decline of more than 20 points.

The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence is based on a survey that measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in South Africa for the next six months based on the economy, employment, the stock market, regular income, and quality of life.

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