South Africa: Manufacturing production expands at strongest pace in six months in March
Manufacturing output expanded 4.0% in month-on-month seasonally adjusted terms in March, which contrasted February’s 1.3% decrease. March’s reading was the strongest growth in six months. Looking at the details of the release, the rebound reflected a nearly broad-based upturn, with activity in the food and beverages and basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery sub-sectors returning to growth in March. Less positively, activity in the petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products slowed down.
On an annual basis, manufacturing production decreased 1.1% in March, a softer contraction than February’s 5.6% fall. Still, the trend pointed down, with the annual average variation of manufacturing production coming in at minus 1.6%, down from February’s minus 1.5%.