Manufacturing activity in SA declined for the second month in a row in February, with Eskom’s load-shedding weighing on the energy-intensive sector. The seasonally adjusted Absa purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which gauges activity in the manufacturing industry, eased to 46.2 points in February from January’s 49.9. It reached its highest level for 2018, of 50.7, in December — the first time since May 2017 that the index breached the neutral 50 mark. A score below 50 indicates contraction in the sector. Friday’s print was lower than the Bloomberg consensus of 49.5. Two of the PMI’s main sub-components came in above the neutral 50-point mark, while three sub-components registered below that level. The new sales orders index fell back below the neutral 50-point mark after remaining above that level for the preceding three months. The index tracking expected business conditions in six months’ time declined slightly in February but, at 65.9, remains well above levels seen through the s...

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