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South Africa’s private sector contracted at a softer pace in August, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Friday.

The headline Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 49.9 in August from 46.1 in July. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

New orders declined for the second straight month in August. Export sales declined at a softer pace.

The index reflecting confidence for the next 12 months increased in August.

The number of workforce rose for the fourth time in five months in August and backlogs of work increased. Suppliers’ delivery time lengthened.

Input prices increased sharply in August and output prices rose at a softer pace.

Firms reduced their purchasing activity for the second month in a row in August and the rate of contraction in new orders eased sharply.

“Overall though, demand and activity fell again in August, suggesting it will take several months for business to fully recover from this particular downturn, one that IHS Markit estimates will reduce GDP growth by 0.3 percent in 2021,” David Owen, economist at the survey firm, said.


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