The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined by a further 3.8 points to 42.9 in July, with all five of the major subindices having declined in July.
The seasonally adjusted business activity index was under the most pressure, declining by 6.1 index points to 39.3. The significant decline was on the back of an even steeper fall in June.
The weak activity levels in July were in line with the prevailing soft demand conditions in South Africa. This was reflected in the further easing of the new sales orders index, which fell by almost four points to 39.8 in July.
The weak demand and output conditions spilled over to the factory sector job market, with the employment index losing three index points to 44.1.
After a sharp downscaling of business expectations for the next six months in June, purchasing managers remained downbeat about business prospects in July, albeit slightly less so.
The Bureau for Economic Research, which compiles the PMI on behalf of Absa, commented that the marginal 25 basis points reduction in the repo rate during July may provide some boost to demand on the margin, but warned that the manufacturing sector continues to face a number of headwinds, including the possibility of an extended strike in the metals and engineering industry.