South Africa’s manufacturing activity expanded slightly in January, the seasonally-adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed on Monday.
The index, a gauge of manufacturing activity in Africa’s most industrialised economy, inched up to 50.9 points in January from 50.3 in December.
The figure was above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction but well short of the average in the final quarter of 2020, suggesting a slow economic rebound.
There was a fourth consecutive decline in the business activity sub-index, although there were gains in the sub-indices tracking new sales orders and expected business conditions in six months’ time.
South Africa’s economy, already in recession before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, is forecast to have shrunk by at least 7% in 2020.
An economic recovery this year will probably be hampered by a second wave of coronavirus infections, power cuts and high levels of unemployment.