Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

Factory output shrank more than expected in November, falling for the sixth consecutive month, Stats SA data showed on Thursday.

The latest manufacturing data comes as SA experiences ongoing economic headwinds, including record low business confidence levels, ongoing power cuts by Eskom, and declining expectations for economic growth.  

Manufacturing production declined 3.6% year-on-year, more than the 1.3% expected by economists polled by Bloomberg.

The declines were broad-based, with nine out of the 10 manufacturing divisions reporting negative growth over this period, according to Stats SA.

The largest falls came from the wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing division; the motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment sector; the petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products division; and textiles, clothing, leather and footwear.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, manufacturing production fell by 1.5% in November 2019 compared with the previous month. For the three months ending November production was flat when compared to the previous three months.

The latest manufacturing data comes on the heels of bleak business confidence figures, reported by  SA Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (Sacci). The chamber’s latest business confidence index revealed that confidence levels for 2019 were the lowest since 1985.

Load-shedding by Eskom has, in the meantime, continued, with the utility instituting stage 2 cuts until Friday 6am.

On Wednesday, the World Bank cut its forecasts for SA’s growth, to 0.9% for 2020, highlighting persistent policy uncertainty, constrained fiscal space, weak business confidence, and poor electricity supply.

donnellyl@businesslive.co.za