Manufacturers remain somewhat upbeat about their prospects despite a contraction in the first quarter. The Manufacturing Circle, which is considered the voice of the sector, says business has remained resilient even as SA grapples with downgrades to its credit ratings. According to a survey compiled by the industry body, 29% of manufacturing enterprises indicated that they would continue with already instituted plans but would halt whatever they could to manage risks. Another 34% of respondents said the downgrades would affect investment decisions. Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth said: “The message is that while manufacturers want to invest more, this can be affected by events such as downgrades. “This is concerning for future growth, jobs and exports.” Statistics SA data show that manufacturing production slumped in the first quarter. Seasonally adjusted manufacturing production decreased 0.9% in the first quarter. The Absa purchasing managers index (PMI) a...

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