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SACCI says South African trade conditions deteriorate sharply

(Xinhua)

09:09, August 17, 2011

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Current trade conditions in South Africa, as reflected by the Trade Activity Index (TAI), dipped further into negative territory registering a seasonally adjusted 38 in July 2011 after recording 47 in June 2011, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said on Tuesday.

"The magnitude of the further deterioration In July 2011 is substantially greater than anticipated. In July 2010 the TAI stood at a seasonally adjusted 49," SACCI said in a statement.

The TAI is a composite index of sales volumes, new orders, supplier deliveries, inventory levels and employment.

A reading of 50 shows a "no change" situation and above 50 indicates a positive level, while below 50 is negative.

SACCI said the strike season had a sobering effect on employment conditions with the index on employment in the trade environment dipping to 42 after it stood at 48 in June.

With performance in the trade environment deteriorating severely, it is not able to afford above-inflation wage increases. The claims by labor in the business environment are likely to severely dampen employment prospects in this sectors well. The potential implications for employment in the broader economy is concerning.

The sales price index remained unchanged at 56 after declining from 61 in March and April 2011.

The Trade Expectations Index continued its declining trend. It was 52 in July, 13 points below the February 2011 level.

"However, rising costs such as fuel and other utility services are putting trade margins under continual pressure. Claims for wage and salary increases well above general inflation are also adversely affecting the ease of doing business in the trading environment," SACCI said.

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