Manufacturing output growth drops in February rather than expected increase
SA’s manufacturing output growth decelerated sharply to 0.6% in February from 2.3% in January, dashing expectations of an up-tick.
The economists’ consensus from a poll by Trading Economics was that February would see an acceleration to 2.6%. Tuesday’s report from Statistics SA also revised the January figure down from the originally reported 2.5%.
Sectors that contributed to the disappointing figure for February included paper and printing, which reported a 3.1% decline in output over the year; oil production, which declined 2.8%; and iron and steel production, which declined 0.3%.
The clothing and textile sector also reported a 4.2% decline in production, with footwear production falling 13.8%.
Manufacturing sectors that reported growth included food and beverages, which grew 4.3%, a slowdown from 9.4% in January.
Vehicle factories accelerated production to 5.5% from 5.2% in January.
Stats SA’s manufacturing volume index, which was set to 100 points in 2015, rose to 94.6 points in February from 87.4 points in January. It was 94 points in February 2016.
The total value of manufacturing sales in February in current prices came to R174.6bn, up from January’s R155.6bn and R163.4bn in February 2016.