JOHANNESBURG, June 5 (Reuters) - South African private-sector activity was at a standstill in May, with an increase in new orders and rising employment offset by a contraction in output, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, slipped to 50.0 in May from 50.4 in April.
The reading was the lowest since January, and right on the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction.
“... The PMI has been gradually moderating each month, indicating a modest slowdown in the rate at which business conditions have been improving,” said Thanda Sithole and economist at Standard Bank.
“This will likely be reflected in the 1Q18 GDP numbers which will be released later today and which we expect a 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction,” Sithole said.
Business activity contracted for the second month in a row, albeit at slower pace than in April. Survey respondents cited product shortages and weaker market conditions. New orders, stock levels and employment were up modestly in the month.
Statistics South Africa publishes first-quarter economic growth figures at 0930 GMT.
Africa’s most industrialised economy grew 3.1 percent in the final quarter of 2017, but has since seen slowdowns in mining and manufacturing chip away at last year’s boom in agriculture.
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(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana, editing by Larry King)
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