December’s “dismal” Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) performance indicates that the South African manufacturing sector ended the year on “the back foot”, the monthly Bureau for Economic Research survey suggests. After four consecutive months of improvements and reaching a six-month high in November, the seasonally adjusted PMI revealed a deepening contraction in manufacturing sector activity, declining to 44.9 points in December from 48.6 points in November.

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