South Africa’s manufacturing sector output expanded by 2.2% y/y in October, decelerating from a revised 8.6% growth the month before, mainly due to a higher base, preliminary data from Statistics South Africa showed.
September’s surge in output, the highest since June 2010, was attributed mainly to a 122% y/y jump in the production of the automotive sector, which was hit by industrial action a year earlier. In October, the production of motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment rose 10.3% y/y and contributed 0.9pps to the overall output growth.
The food and beverages manufacturing industry was also a significant positive contributor to the overall y/y output increase, recording a 2.1% y/y growth and contributing 0.5pps. Next, production of petroleum, chemical products and rubber and plastic products contributed 0.4pps based on a y/y growth of 1.6%.
On a seasonally adjusted monthly comparison basis, factory output edged up 0.5% in October, braking from a 4.2% growth in September, but remaining in positive territory for the third straight month as an indication that the industry continues to recover from the disruptive strikes in the first seven months of the year.
For the three months to end-October, the manufacturing production expanded by a seasonally-adjusted 3.8% compared to the preceding three-month period, with 9 of the 10 manufacturing divisions reporting growth. It was by 3.2% higher y/y. For the first 10 months of the year, factory output was flat y/y.
The total sales of manufactured products at current prices climbed 11.7% y/y to ZAR174.5bn ($15.2bn) in October, decelerating from a 15.7% y/y growth in the previous month, Statistics South Africa said. On a seasonally adjusted basis, manufacturing sales rose 2.0% m/m in October and were by 5.4% higher in the three months to end-October as compared to the previous three-month period.
The manufacturing industry, which accounted for 13.4% of South Africa’s total economic output in Q3, contracted for the third straight quarter, with the rate of decline softening to 3.4% from 4.0% in Q2 and 6.4% in Q1. Looking at the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing industry, which advanced for the fourth straight month in November and reached its highest level since August 2013, a recovery in the industry seems imminent. However, it is endangered by power outages, which have put significant pressure on manufacturing production during the last three weeks, and are continuing with no resolution in sight.
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