JOHANNESBURG, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said Wednesday that the country's overall trade conditions were subdued and remained in the negative territory in February.
There were some improvements in merchandise export volumes and inward tourism, however, the retail trade volumes, merchandise import volumes, new vehicles sales and the value of building plans approved were in the negative territory, the SACCI said in its latest Trade Conditions Survey.
"Tight trade conditions became prevalent since January 2022. The backlog on orders declined, which reflects the restrained trade activity," the SACCI said, adding that smaller enterprises are facing energy shortages threatening their viability.
The survey showed that 88 percent of the respondents expect operating costs to rise while 85 percent think sales prices will increase in the next six months.
"The rise of electricity tariffs and rising real wage demands and other costs could regenerate the inflationary process," the commerce chamber said.
About 62 percent of the respondents expect the country's trade to improve in the next six months with challenges expected, the SACCI said, noting that inflationary pressures will continue to affect future trade activities.