JOHANNESBURG, May 23 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's trade conditions remained constrained in April with load shedding weighing heavily on the country's businesses, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said on Tuesday.
The index measuring trade conditions reached 43 in April, which has improved from 38 in the same period last year but is still constrained, the SACCI said in its latest trade conditions survey.
The latest data indicate that the volume of retail trade, merchandise export volumes and the number of new vehicle sales declined year-on-year while merchandise import volumes and the number of inward tourists increased, the SACCI said.
Load shedding and providing alternative sources of power are weighing on businesses and input costs, the SACCI said, adding that respondents from the private personal services fraternity and small-scale manufacturing especially experienced frequent disruptions and closing of businesses owing to load shedding.
In the next six months, new orders are under pressure while sales volumes are expected to decline significantly, the SACCI said.
South Africa is facing severe load shedding with people at times experiencing eight hours without electricity in a day. ■