The Afrimat Construction Index for the first quarter of 2018 shows a large downturn year on year as SA’s mining and construction industries remain mired in negative territory. While the real growth rate has ticked up in other sectors of the economy in the period, volumes and sales of building materials fell in the quarter, along with subsectors such as construction employment and buildings completed, as part of a declining general trend in 2017. "A lot of things that could have gone wrong went wrong," economist Roelof Botha said. Botha compiles the index on behalf of Afrimat, an open-pit mining company and supplier of industrial minerals and construction materials. "It is de facto restrictive monetary policy … the Reserve Bank is being over-cautious." Botha said declines in interest rates in SA since December 2016 had trailed falls in consumer inflation by 180 basis points to date. Meanwhile, confidence in the construction and building sectors had been muted by threats of land expro...

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