HARARE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's business confidence index (BCI) slumped in the first quarter of this year to -14.4 from 5.8 in the previous quarter, showing a lack of confidence in the operating environment that is synonymous with election periods, a business representative body said on Thursday.
The BCI, as measured by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), ranges from -5000 to 5000, showing levels of pessimism when in the negative and optimism when rating positive.
The index prepares managers to anticipate, position for and act on growth phases, booms or slow down in performance.
A change in government last November saw a boost in confidence as the new administration announced its policies aimed at opening the country up for business.
On a year-on-year basis, business managers were however optimistic that the environment would improve as the BCI stood at 20.9.
CZI president Sifelani Jabangwe said the slump in the quarterly index had been compounded by continued uncertainties regarding access to foreign currency.
"Since around September last year, the currency challenges have been taking a toll on industry and this really needs to be addressed," he said.
"The decline can also be attributed to 2018 being an election year and as we draw closer to elections, weakened performance, low business confidence and reduced expectations in the economy also naturally moves with it."
The index is expected to remain low in the second quarter of the 2018.
Zimbabwe is due to hold harmonized elections in the next two months. Enditem