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JOHANNESBURG - Many readers will be focussing on what they will be doing over the Freedom Day weekend as taking off the Monday 30, April, will create a five day break. 

Ahead of the public holiday on Friday, however, there will be a series of data releases.   

The week starts off with a flurry of minor statistical releases on Monday. 

The February land transport, food and beverages, tourism accommodation as well as the March liquidations and February insolvencies will help to give colour in how the different sectors of the economy are performing.

Income from tourism accommodation grew by only 2.5 percent year-on-year (y/y) in January 2018 from 4.6 percent in 2017. The number of stay units sold for the total industry edged up by 0.4 percent y/y in January after a 1.1 percent y/y gain in December. 

The tonnage transported by land rose by 6.4 percent y/y in January after surging by 9.2 percent in 2017. Road transport payload grew by 9.7 percent y/y in January after a 5.5 percent y/y gain in December, while rail transport declined by 2.7 percent y/y after a 2.0 percent y/y drop in October. 

Nominal income in the food and beverage industry rose by 3.4 percent y/y in January after a 6.7 percent increase in 2017. Take-away outlets saw a 7.4 percent y/y jump in January after a 3.1 percent y/y rise in December. Restaurant income fell by 0.1 percent y/y in January after a 3.4 percent y/y rise in December. 

Catering services income returned to y/y growth in the fourth quarter with a 9.9 percent y/y rise in December after a 9.0 percent y/y increase in November following several months of y/y declines due to the cutback in catering for government. In January the increase was 7.9 percent y/y.    

On Tuesday we will see the release of the South African Reserve Bank’s composite business cycle indicators. The leading indicator rose by 0.3 percent m/m in January. The leading indicator is supposed to forecast economic activity six months ahead. Five of the ten component time series that were available for January increased, while the remainder decreased. 

On Wednesday we will have the Crop Estimate Committee’s third production estimate for summer crops and the intentions to plant survey for winter crops. Analysts expect another rise in the production estimate following good rainfall in the past few weeks. The second estimate saw a 1.6 percent increase on the first estimate. 

On Thursday the March producer inflation data will be released. Producer inflation for final manufactures eased to 4.8 percent in 2017 from 7.0 percent in 2016 and we should see subdued producer inflation in March due to the strength of the rand. Intermediate goods prices rose by 4.0 percent in 2017 after a 6.8 percent gain in 2016. Electricity price increases moderated to 5.8 percent in 2017 from 10.4 percent in 2016. 

Mining prices increased by 5.4 percent in 2017 from a 11.5 percent surge in 2016. Agricultural prices were stable with only a 0.4 percent rise in 2017 after a 16.4 percent jump in 2016.

Producer inflation eased to 4.0 percent y/y in February from 5.1 percent y/y in January and 5.2 percent y/y in December. Intermediate goods prices edged up by 0.4 percent y/y in February after a 1.5 percent y/y gain in January. Mining prices fell by 4.3 percent y/y in February following a 0.1 percent y/y drop in January. Agricultural prices rose by 5.7 percent y/y in February from a 8.7 percent y/y jump in January. 

- BUSINESS REPORT