Manufacturing production slowed down by 0.1 percent year on year in December 2018, compared with a downwardly revised 1.3 percent in November. Photo: EPA

PRETORIA – Manufacturing production slowed down by 0.1 percent year on year in December 2018, compared with a downwardly revised 1.3 percent in November, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday. 

Nevertheless, the sector ended the fourth quarter on a positive note. Major contributors to the annual headline number were manufactured food and beverages, which increased by 3.8 percent year on year.

This was followed by the manufacturing of motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment which advanced by 7 percent year on year and manufacturing for glass and non-metallic mineral products which increased by 9.7 percent year on year in December.

Regarding negative contributions, StatsSA said the petrochemical products, rubber and plastic products segment was the biggest drag on overall production after decreasing by three percent year on year. 

Factory production for basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery fell by 2.8 percent year on year and shaved off half a percentage point from headline manufacturing production.

FNB economist Matlhodi Matsei said the outcome for manufacturing production was largely in line with what was expected. 

"We see some consistency with the Absa PMI outcome, which suggests that the sector remained somewhat resilient during fourth quarter, against the backdrop of improved demand conditions," Matsei said. 

"Given the positive outcome, albeit marginally softer, the data suggest that the expected adverse impact from the electricity load shedding in December was somewhat limited. The significant decrease in domestic fuel prices in December likely also brought some relief for producers."

African News Agency (ANA)