Wednesday, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or SACCI, said in a report that the business confidence dropped 5.6 points to 78.9 in March from 84.5 in February. This was the lowest level since March 2002.

The negative business confidence in March was mainly influenced by the sub-indices on merchandise import and export volumes.

Low levels of consumer and business confidence and a relatively tight domestic monetary environment remained a feature of the South African business environment, the SACCI said.

It noted that the real GDP is likely to contract in the first quarter of 2009.

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