The Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko
JOHANNESBURG - The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) went up to 49 in January from 48.4 in December. 

The reading pointed to the sixth consecutive month of contraction in private sector activity, as output, new orders and exports continued to decline. On the price front, input cost inflation eased from the previous month and average selling prices continued to increase.

Employment rose for the first time in three months as companies enrolled more people into training schemes.

Thanda Sithole, an economist at Standard Bank, said the private sector PMI for January indicated that domestic business conditions continued to deteriorate albeit at a slower rate. 

“We expect continued uptick over the coming months premised on improved economic optimism following the improving domestic political backdrop and some government intervention to restoring good governance in State Owned Entities (SOEs),” Sithole said. The PMI showed that new business declined for the sixth month running. In addition, the rate at which new orders reduced quickened from December, leading purchasing activity to contract.