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JOHANNESBURG - Data from Statistics South Africa showed that the manufacturing sector registered the smallest gain in industrial output in June since February.  Manufacturing output advanced 0.7 percent year-on-year in June of slowing from a downwardly revised 2.0 percent rise in the previous month.

June’s production print was also below market consensus of a 1.7 percent increase.

The slowdown in the industry was broad-based, with growth ebbing across almost all key manufacturing sub-sectors. The sharpest decline was in the automotive sector which fell by 3.3 percent year-on-year.

The long-suffering manufacturing sector has been shedding jobs in the past few months.  Stats SA last month said the embattled manufacturing sector led the jobs bloodbath with 108 000 jobs during the second quarter.

John Ashbourne, an Africa economist at Capital Economics said we will have a better idea of how the economy fared when retail and mining figures for June are released next week.

“But we expect that the economy probably just returned to growth last quarter, narrowly dodging another technical recession. Even so, growth was probably very weak by recent standards,” Ashbourne said.