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SA inflation seen at 5.6 percent

South Africa's consumer inflation held steady in November but manufacturing output contracted in October, hit by labour unrest at mines, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A median of 15 economists suggested year-on-year consumer price inflation (CPI) remained unchanged at 5.6 percent last month, while on a month-on-month basis it is seen slowing to 0.2 percent from 0.6 percent in October.

“Expect higher food prices to be the main driver of CPI in the month, (but) the petrol price declined by 10 cents per litre in November, which will offset some pressure,” said Elize Kruger, economist from Kadd Capital.

Producer price inflation (PPI) is expected to pick up to 5.4 percent in November from 5.2 percent in October, but will ease to 0.4 percent month-on-month from 0.6 percent.

“A ramp up in PPI is expected due to the continued upward trends in its major categories as grain prices and currency weakness pass-through more strongly,” said Gina Schoeman, economist at Citi.

The rand has lost more than 7 percent since the start of the year and has been under pressure after wildcat strikes at platinum mines and the wide current account deficit.

Economists expect factory output to have fallen 1.2 percent in October from 1.1 percent in the previous month, threatening to hit economic growth.

Manufacturing output shrank in September at its fastest pace in six months, painting a bleak picture for Africa's biggest economy after the strikes.

Statistics South Africa is due to release retail sales and manufacturing production data for October on Tuesday, followed by consumer inflation on Wednesday and producer inflation on Thursday. - Reuters

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