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Financial News: South Africa Private Sector Returns To Contraction

South Africa Private Sector Returns To Contraction

04/03/2019 - 08:08:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - South Africa's private sector contracted in March, after a modest improvement in February, due to decline in output, new orders and employment, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Wednesday.

The headline purchasing managers' index, or PMI, fell to 48.8 in March from 50.2 in February.

Any reading below 50 indicates a contraction in the sector. In February, private sector operating conditions improved for the first time since June last year.

Among components, output fell at the quickest pace in four months after stabilizing in February. Export sales and new orders fell at sharper rates in March and employment declined for the first time in six months, albeit fractionally.

A lack of new business reduced workloads that led to job losses. Further, backlogs were reduced the most in 15 months, thanks to weak demand.

Input price inflation slowed due to weaker increases in purchase prices and salaries. Output charges declined for the first time since the survey began in July 2011.

Business confidence sunk to a six-month low, though companies still hoped for output growth over the coming year, citing prospects for new orders and projects, the IHS Markit said.

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