Manufacturing production took a dive in January - especially beverages

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A worker assembles a dashboard on production line.
A worker assembles a dashboard on production line.
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Manufacturing production decreased by 3.4% year-on-year in January 2021, data from Stats SA show.

Stats SA on Thursday released manufacturing production data for January. On a month-on-month basis, manufacturing production increased 0.5%. The consensus expectation was for a 1% year-on-year decline and a 0.7% month-on-month decline.

According to Stats SA, six out of ten manufacturing divisions reported a slowdown in activity.

Among the biggest contributors to the year-on-year decline was the petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products category (down 13.9%), food and beverage production was the second biggest negative contributor having declined by 4.9%.

Notably the production of beverages declined by 26.2% year-on-year. Stats SA did not indicate if this was linked to the ban on alcohol sales during the month.

Furniture and other manufacturing goods declined 12.9%.

The motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment category was a positive contributor, having increased by 28.1%.

January's Purchasing Manager's Index - which measures economic activity in the manufacturing sector - had edged up slightly, but the survey indicated that load shedding may have weighed on production, Fin24 previously reported.

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