October 9, 2019 / 9:51 AM / 5 days ago

South Africa's September business confidence recovers from 34-year low - SACCI

A worker walks near a row of cars at Nissan's manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, outside Pretoria, file. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African business confidence improved in September, recovering from a 34-year low in the previous month as exports and vehicle sales increased while economic activity picked-up, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SACCI) monthly business confidence index (BCI) rose to 92.4 in September from 89.1 in August.

Seven sub-indices of the index improved and three remained unchanged between September and August.

“Positive annual contributions in September came from the higher U.S. dollar price of precious metals, energy supply – the latter mainly owing to a decline in the crude oil price,” SACCI said in a statement.

“There are indications that the economy may have hit a trough and could obtain some stability which could auger well for growth prospects,” the business body said.

Africa’s most industrialised economy expanded 3.1% in the second quarter after contracting by the same margin in the first, and analysts are divided on whether the momentum can be sustained due to the slow speed of policy and economic reforms.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s mid-term budget speech due on Oct. 30 will be closely watched for details on the restructuring of state-owned power utility Eskom and progress on reviving tax revenues.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

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