A gauge measuring South Africa’s manufacturing industry expanded for the first time in nine months in December as new-sales and export orders improved.
Absa Group Ltd’s Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by the Stellenbosch-based Bureau for Economic Research, rose to 50.7 from 49.5 in November, the Johannesburg-based lender said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
The reading breached the neutral 50-point mark for the first time since February last year.
The index measuring new-sales orders rose for a second consecutive month in December, reaching 54.3.
It is the first time since July that survey respondents expect business conditions to improve in six months’ time, with the index tracking expectations rising to 51.4.
The lender warned that rolling blackouts, known locally as load-shedding, from mid-January could hamper a potential recovery in the sector.