Filomena Scalise

Johannesburg - South Africa's private sector contracted slightly in June, a survey showed on Thursday, reflecting the impact of a protracted strike in the mining sector.

The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) edged down to 49.5 in June from 49.7 in May, pointing to a further deterioration in operating conditions for local firms.

The index has now come in below 50 for three consecutive months and averaged 49.5 in the second quarter of 2014.

South Africa's economy shrank in the first three months of the year after a 20-week platinum strike hit mining and manufacturing output, and another job stoppage by metal and engineering workers this week has dealt a new blow.

“The mining strike and weak confidence are among the main drivers of falling demand, with low confidence levels likely to weigh on business and consumer behaviour for some time to come,” HSBC economist David Faulkner said.

- Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from Markit and customers need to apply to Markit for a licence. - Reuters