Picture: MASI LOSI
Picture: MASI LOSI

Manufacturing production recorded its third consecutive contraction in August, although activity declined less than expected.

Manufacturing production decreased 1.8% in August, less than the Bloomberg consensus of a contraction of 2.5%.

The sector has been under pressure from weak consumer demand and uncertain export growth prospects as a result of the US-China trade war.

The biggest drags were a 7% drop in basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery' and a 4.1% fall in petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products.

Graphic: RUBY-GAY MARTIN
Graphic: RUBY-GAY MARTIN

Wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing contracted 7.3%.

The largest positive contribution came from motor vehicles, parts, accessories and other transport equipment, which rose 8.3%. 

The monthly changes in factory output measured by Statistics SA usually tend to be foreshadowed by the Absa-sponsored purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which is published on the first business day of each month.

The PMI, which gauges activity in the manufacturing industry, points to further pressure in the sector in September, when it declined to 41.6 index points from 45.7 in the previous month.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za