BUSINESS confidence in SA has improved marginally but challenging economic conditions are likely to deter any further recovery this year.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) business confidence index (BCI) showed a 0.4 point rise to 80 in January from 79.6 points in December 2015. The BCI was 9.3 points lower than it was in January 2015.

The chamber said an uncertain business climate and a hesitant business mood was evident in January 2016. It said decisive steps were needed to counter the present difficulties and put the economy on track for recovery.

"Predictable sound policy decisions will become imperatives. It is, however, important that action be seen as credible, feasible and consistent in order to re-establish investor and business confidence," said the chamber.

Month-on-month changes in the index were mixed. Five indices were positive, three remained undecided and five turned negative.

Year-on-year changes paint a dismal picture. All but one subindex were negative.

"Real economic as well as financial circumstances were worse off than in January 2015 and the prospects for short-term improvements remain slim," the chamber said.