Johannesburg, 12 March 2020 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) welcomes the rebound in production in the broader manufacturing sector, especially given that this is the first increase recorded since September 2019, Economist Marique Kruger said.

The latest preliminary data published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today captures an increase (year on year) in production in the broader manufacturing sector in January 2020. Output in the sector rebounded, increasing to -2.0 percent in January 2020, from -5.9 percent in December 2019.

Speaking after the release of the data, Ms Kruger said given the fact that the manufacturing sector continues to face headwinds, , the rebound in output is encouraging. She said increasing levels of production have the propensity to further relieve pressure on struggling companies, thus positively affecting their bottom lines.

“This is good, given the poor state of the domestic economy, as evidenced by a second consecutive decrease in real Gross Domestic Product and volatility in input costs which could impact negatively on the outlook for manufacturing production in the medium term,” said Ms Kruger.

She said that she was  hopeful that companies in the sector would build on the positive performance and continue to remain resilient, despite the existence of numerous headwinds.

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 21 independent employer Associations in the metals and engineering industries, with a combined membership of 1600 companies employing around 200 000 people. The Federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people