Johannesburg - South Africa's quarterly business confidence index rose further in the fourth quarter of 2014, climbing back into positive territory for the first time since early last year to reflect an improvement in the economy, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) survey, conducted by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER), rose 5 points to 51 in Q4, with the index showing large improvements in building and manufacturing confidence, which offset a decline in confidence in the retail sector.

"Closing the year on a stronger foundation is a good starting point for next year," RMB said in a statement.

"In the absence of another turbulent year in the labour market, the economy looks good for growth of around 2.5% in 2015 - not a great outcome but nonetheless an improvement on this year."

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