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Cape Town - Slow growth in the metals and engineering sector is cause for concern, the Steel and Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) said on Friday.

The latest production data for November showed only a two percent increase in the sector for 2013, compared to 2012.

“...the latest production data for the steel and engineering sector released by Statistics SA (Stats SA) follows a pattern that has been established over the last number of years, indicating improvements on the previous year during the first three-quarters of a year and then a relapse during the last quarter,” Seifsa chief economist Henk Langenhoven said in a statement.

Compared to 2009, when the global financial crisis crippled several sectors, production levels were up by 15 percent, but below the 25 percent peak before the meltdown.

Confidence levels for growth for 2014, however, were showing a positive trend.

“The confidence level is now 128 percent higher than at the (bottom) trough (of 2009) and only 14 percent below the peak in 2007,” Langenhoven said.

“The federation believes that the upturn in confidence levels augers well for real production growth for the steel and engineering sector during 2014.” - Sapa