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The Sales Managers Index: South Africa

Released: March 21, 2017


South African Economy Continues to
Contract at a Slower Rate

  • Market Growth Index remains under 50 for third consecutive month
  • Prices rise as Rand remains weak
  • Job losses continue for the tenth consecutive month but at a slower rate

Business conditions in South Africa continued to deteriorate in March, with the Headline Sales Managers’ (SMI) – a composite indicator designed to provide the most up-to-date assessment of business activity reporting 49.8. The Index continued below the 50.0 level that separates growth from contraction for the sixth consecutive month. Official GDP Growth rates for Q4 2016 were -0.3% as published by the Statistics of South Africa office while the Market Growth Index in March improved to 49.6, indicating that the country could soon be returning to positive growth. The monthly Sales Growth Index (48.9) has also improved on the February level, in line with recent Business Confidence Index levels. Companies have been reporting job losses for the past ten months, with the March Staffing Levels Index recording 47.4, the highest value for seven months. Overall, the latest SMI data suggests that the South African economy remains in contraction territory but there are tentative signs in the data that conditions may improve over the coming few months.



Headline Sales Managers' Index



Market Growth Index





Sales Managers' Index Trends

  Direction Speed
SMI Falling Very Slowly
Business Confidence Falling Very slowly
Market Growth Falling Very Slowly
Sales Output Falling Slowly
Prices Charged Growing Slowly
Staffing Levels Falling Solidly




Prices Charged Index





About South African SMI Data



The Sales Managers Index provide the earliest monthly data on the speed and direction of South African economic activity.

Key advantages of the South Africa SMI:
  • The SMI provides the first indication each month of the speed and direction of economic growth in South Africa.
  • The SMI provides the most complete indication of growth, covering all private sector activity.
  • The SMI is based on a key occupational group - uniquely able to sense changes in business activity levels.
  • The SMI is composite index of business confidence, market growth, sales, prices charged and staffing levels.
  • The SMI is a diffusion index, any index value above 50 indicates growth and below 50 indicates contraction.

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