S.Africa’s private sector shrinks at a slower pace in January -PMI

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Workers sort avocados at a farm factory in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga province, about 51 miles (82 km) north of the Swaziland border, South Africa, June 14, 2018. Picture taken June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Activity in South Africa’s private sector deteriorated slightly in January as output and new orders fell while exports rose, a survey showed on Tuesday.

IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 49.6 from 49.0 in December, remaining below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for the seventh month in a row.

The first increase in export orders since September 2017 helped arrest the rate of decline in business conditions, with demand for agricultural products in particular growing strongly.

“This points towards a modest recovery in the private sector during 2019, as indicated by IHS Markit’s forecast of 1.4 percent annual GDP growth,” said IHS Markit economist David Owen.

While firms said overall demand in the first month of the year was subdued, they were upbeat about future demand and output, citing ongoing political reforms as a likely boost to the economy and consumer activity.

Africa’s most industrialised economy grew 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2018 after contracting in the preceding two quarters, and has seen sentiment brighten since Cyril Ramaphosa became president last February. He has promised to tackle corruption and reform economic policy.

Last month, the central bank forecast economic growth of 1.7 percent for 2019.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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