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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) moved into expansion for the first time in seven months in July, as improved demand saw sales and business activity improve, the survey showed on Thursday.

In July the manufacturing PMI index rose to 52.1 from 46.2 in June, and from an average of 46.7 for H1.19.

Kamilla Kaplan from Investec said, "The business activity and new sales orders sub-indices registered marked increases in July. The survey report suggests that some manufacturing producers in - or supplying to - sectors that are busy with wage negotiations (automotive and platinum mining, for example) increased output, or saw increased demand for their products, in July to guard against possible strike-related production disruptions. Should this be the case, the notable upward moves in July are unlikely to be repeated.   Activity in the manufacturing sector is likely to be restrained by weak export prospects and muted domestic demand."