COVID-19 forces South Africa’s trade activity index to plummet

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Citizens line up outside a supermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2, 2020. The spread of COVID-19 continued unabated in South Africa on Thursday, with 82 new cases reported, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
Citizens line up outside a supermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2, 2020. The spread of COVID-19 continued unabated in South Africa on Thursday, with 82 new cases reported, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The South African seasonally adjusted trade activity index (TAI) declined by 11 points to 26 in April compared with March, said South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Thursday.

“In April 2020, the strict lockdown regulations owing to COVID-19 took effect and outpaced the recessionary economic conditions. Trade conditions were badly affected and called for extra-ordinary efforts by businesses to keep afloat,”said Sacci CEO Alan Mukoki.

The latest survey showed sales volumes and new orders plunged during the month, with 78 percent and 76 percent of the respondents respectively experiencing adverse conditions.

Mukoki said the new vehicle sales plummeted by 98 percent in April which is an example of the notable impact the lockdown had on “non-essential” trade.

The survey showed that the employment decreased notably in April, with the sub-index declining by nine index points to 32. Employment opportunities for the next six months remained bleak.

South Africa imposed lockdown from March 26 which brought most business activity to a virtual standstill.

The lockdown will be reduced to level three at the end of May. Many businesses lost as their shops were closed as the country tried to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Enditem.

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