South Africa’s factory output decline softens in June, Q2 data remains gloomy

By bne IntelliNews August 11, 2015

The annual decline in South Africa’s manufacturing output softened to 0.4% in June from a revised 1.6% in May, preliminary data from Statistics South Africa showed.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly comparison basis, factory output grew 0.9% in July, reversing a 0.6% fall in May. However, Q2’s production was 1.3% lower y/y and 1.2% lower q/q, suggesting that the manufacturing industry, which accounts for 13% of South Africa’s total economic output, will again contribute negatively to the quarterly GDP.

In Q1, the sector shrank 2.4% q/q following a 9.5% q/q growth in Q4, but its y/y growth rate only edged up to 0.4% from 0.3%. The industry, which was hit by strikes last year, is now troubled by frequent power outages, which affect manufacturers’ ability to produce, as well as by soft demand, both foreign and domestic. These drawbacks are partly offset by the weak rand, which makes locally manufactured goods cheaper to export.

Year-to-date, factory output narrowed by 0.4% y/y.

The total sales of manufactured products at current prices rose 1.1% y/y to ZAR157.82bn ($12.4bn) in June, slowing from a 3.0% y/y growth in the previous month, Stats SA said. On a seasonally adjusted basis, manufacturing sales edged up 0.1% m/m in June, and were by 1.3% higher q/q in Q2. Year-to-date, factory sales rose 1.2% y/y.

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