South Africa's seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell further in October due to declines in new orders, business activity and employment, a survey showed on Thursday.
The index, which is compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research and gauges manufacturing activity in Africa's most industrialised economy, was at 42.4 in October, its lowest reading since July 2017 and well below the 50-mark separating contraction from expansion.
The index stood at a revised 44.5 in September, and 43.4 in August. It stood at 51.5 in July.
Absa said pressure on costs meant that manufacturers may struggle to benefit from any gains the relatively weaker rand exchange rate provides in international markets.
"The weak domestic economy has been a drag for the manufacturing sector for several quarters, respondents now also reported a downturn in export sales," it said in a statement.