SA’s long-term manufacturing performance has disappointed, undermined by falling levels of fixed investment, persistent electricity outages and social unrest — the juxtaposition of data released by Stats SA on Thursday showing a substantial decline in monthly figures, a signal that the sector has stagnated.

While agency data shows the sector increased by 0.7% year on year, below Bloomberg consensus expectations of a 2.7% lift, manufacturing production declined substantially in December, contracting 1.7% month-on-month after rising 1.2% the previous month. This sharp decline came in below the Bloomberg consensus expectation of a 0.4% increase...

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