Bloomberg News

South Africa Manufacturing Output Rebounds as Strikes End

October 12, 2011

(Updates with analyst comment in third paragraph and rand in sixth paragraph.)

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- South African manufacturing rebounded in August, expanding 5.6 percent as companies boosted output following strikes in the chemical, petroleum and mining industries a month earlier.

Production rose after a revised 6.2 percent contraction in July, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on its website today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of nine economists was for a 0.6 percent drop. Output surged a seasonally adjusted 7.6 percent in the month.

“It seems businesses wanted to catch up fairly quickly and rebuild some of the inventories they had been forced to deplete,” Jean-Francois Mercier, an economist at Citigroup Inc. in Johannesburg and one of three analysts that forecast an expansion in the Bloomberg survey, said in a telephone interview. “The rebound from the strikes seemed to have been quicker.”

Africa’s biggest economy is struggling to recover from the slowest growth in almost two years in the second quarter after mining, petroleum and chemical workers went on strike in July. About 320,000 metalworkers went on a two-week work stoppage, and petroleum, chemical, engineering and packaging workers held an 18-day strike for higher wages.

The economy grew an annualized 1.3 percent in the second quarter after a contraction in mining and manufacturing. The central bank said on Sept. 22 that it is “ready to act” to help support growth.

The rand gained 1.5 percent to 7.7975 per U.S. dollar at 1:48 p.m. The currency has dropped 15 percent this year, the worst performer among the 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Nasreen Seria

To contact the reporter on this story: Andres R. Martinez in johannesburg at amartinez28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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