Output from SA’s manufacturing sector, which accounts for about an eighth of SA’s economy, ended the year with a decline. Stats SA’s manufacturing output index, which was set to 100 in 2010, came in at 98.5 points in December, a 2% decline from the same month in 2015. This was worse than economists’ expectations, which had not been rosy anyway: Trading Economics had forecast an increase of 0.1% while the Bloomberg consensus was for no change. Total manufacturing output for 2016, however, was 0.8% higher than in 2015. South African factories sold R160bn worth of goods in December, according to Stats SA. Without taking inflation into account, this was a 5% increase on the R153bn sold in December 2015.

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