Johannesburg - South African manufacturing output rose at the slowest pace in five months in August as strikes cut the production of cars and components by 25 percent from a year earlier.
Growth in factory output decelerated to 0.2 percent from a revised 5.5 percent in July, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said on its website.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 11 economists was 1.2 percent.
Output decreased 3.6 percent in the month.
“Where your manufacturing goes, your overall gross domestic product is likely to go,” Colen Garrow, chief economist at Meganomics, said by phone from Johannesburg.
“One strike after the other subtracts from manufacturing and subtract from GDP.”
Strikes in the mining, manufacturing and construction industries have strained the economy since August as output and exports fell.
Vehicle shipments slumped 75 percent in September from a year earlier and the purchasing managers’ index dropped below 50 for the first time in six months, indicating a contraction in manufacturing, which makes up 15 percent of the economy.
The South African Reserve Bank has kept its benchmark interest rate at 5 percent for more than a year as inflation pressures prevent it from cutting borrowing costs to stimulate the economy, which is set to expand 2 percent this year, the slowest pace since a 2009 recession.
The rand fell 0.1 percent to 9.9704 per dollar by 2:25 p.m. in Johannesburg.
Forward-rate agreements starting in 12 months, used to lock in borrowing costs, fell 5 basis points, or 0.05 p[ercentage point, to 6.04 percent. - Bloomberg News