S Africa business confidence rises.

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South African business confidence rose to a three-year high in the first quarter of 2011 as manufacturers benefited from stronger vehicle sales and a jump in exports. The index - compiled by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and the University of Stellenbosch's Bureau for Economic Research - said the metric had increased to 55 from 44 in the fourth quarter of 2010. A reading above 50 indicates more companies are optimistic than are pessimistic about prevailing business conditions.

"This is a good sign since improved levels of business confidence typically lead to increased capital expenditure which, in turn, is an encouraging prospect for economic growth," RMB's chief economist Etienne le Roux commented. The recovery in Africa's biggest economy has...

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