Standard Bank’s purchasing managers index (PMI) dipped back into contraction territory in August, "signalling broad stagnation in the business climate", the bank said on Tuesday.The bank’s PMI — a measure of conditions in the whole economy — fell to 49.8 in August.In July it rose to just above the neutral 50-point level in July, to 50.1, from 49 in June.Readings for both new business and output, the two biggest components of the index, declined."Output fell to 48.2 from 48.5 and has been in contraction for five successive months," Standard Bank economist Thanda Sithole said. Absa’s PMI, released last week and which focuses on the manufacturing sector, rose in July but, at 44, remained well below the neutral mark.Standard Bank’s Sithole said on Tuesday: "New orders, a proxy for demand, dropped to 48.9 from 50.8." The fall in new business was the sharpest since April 2016, and the second decline in three months, Standard Bank said.Sithole said the improvement in the employment compone...

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