Building prospects in doldrums despite slight confidence uptick

Sixty percent of respondents in a recent survey indicated that they are not happy with current business conditions. After declining by 11 points in the second quarter of 2017, the FNB/BER Building Confidence Index improved by 3 index points to 35 in the third quarter of the year. The uptick was in part due to a 29-index point jump in confidence of building material manufacturers to 37, from 8 in the second quarter. This marks their highest confidence since mid-2015. Underpinning the rise in confidence was an improvement in production and export orders. However, sales remained weak.“The poor performance of building materials sales reflects the poor underlying conditions in the building sector in general," said FNB property economist John Loos.