South Africa: Conditions improve at a quicker pace in March
The S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased to a four-month high of 51.4 in March, up from February’s 50.9. Consequently, the index moved further above the 50-threshold, signaling a brisker improvement in business conditions form the previous month.
March’s upturn was due to the quickest increases in employment levels in nine months on the back of firms’ increased confidence levels following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. Additionally, new orders expanded marginally in the month, largely due to the reopening of the economy following lockdowns, although elevated price pressures seemingly capped the overall demand improvement. Meanwhile, surging input costs, especially for fuel, and material shortages continued to restrain output in March, which recorded a contraction. The war in Ukraine and renewed lockdowns in China have exacerbated concerns over the availability of commodities and input goods, and increased supply chain disruptions, contributing to an acceleration of cost increases.