JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s business confidence index rose to 96.0 points in July from 95.1 in June, lifted by a firmer rand and improvements in export volumes and retails sales, a South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) survey showed on Monday.
“South Africa experienced stronger merchandise export trade in June and July 2016, while the rand gained a healthy plus 10 percent on a weighted rand exchange rate against the U.S. dollar, British pound and the euro,” SACCI said in a statement.
SACCI, however, said it was concerned that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the South African Reserve Bank had lowered economic growth projections for Africa’s most industrialised country.
“A concerted effort will be necessary to avoid even tighter economic conditions in 2017 as such lower economic growth holds additional repercussions for public finance, unemployment and the real cost of borrowing,” SACCI said.
The IMF expects South Africa’s economy to grow by 0.1 percent this year, while the central bank cut its 2016 growth forecast to zero.
(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by James Macharia)