South African manufacturing activity improved in September but at a slower pace than August, after rioting and looting in July dealt the sector a heavy blow, a survey showed on Friday.
The seasonally-adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 56.8 points in September from 57.9 in August but remained above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.
The July PMI reading of 43.5 was the lowest in more than a year.
In a statement accompanying the survey's findings, Absa noted that the average PMI reading for the third quarter was down by 4.4 points relative to the previous three months.
"The weaker activity levels in 2021 Q3 ... suggest that the manufacturing sector is likely to be a drag on the quarterly GDP momentum in the third quarter," the statement said.
The PMI measures month-on-month changes in business conditions in the manufacturing sector of Africa's most industrialised nation.
The July riots, which started as sporadic protests after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed but quickly escalated into widespread violence and destruction, set back the country's economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, detracting from a strong performance in the first half of the year.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo)