South African private-sector economic activity contracted for a fifth consecutive month in December as factory output and new orders fell, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by IHS Markit, fell to 48.4 in December from 48.8 in November, staying below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for a fifth straight month. It was the lowest reading since April 2016.

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