Heading for a new normal: Key global manufacturing centres cling to expansionary territory

Latest manufacturing gauges offer cause for cautious optimism because, while the US and China saw headline declines, confidence is reappearing and both remain in expansionary territory. South Africa’s PMI increased, but revealed a softer underbelly. From the US through China to South Africa, January manufacturing activity gauges – arguably the most timeous and eagerly watched manufacturing sector indicators – have all been encouraging despite undershooting expectations in various respects. US and China indices experienced “modest declines”, while South Africa saw a slight increase at a headline level, but underneath were…

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Manufacturing in contraction as demand remains depressed due to Covid-19 restrictions

JOHANNESBURG – MANUFACTURING production in South Africa is expected to stay in contractionary territory in the short to medium term as demand remains depressed due to the extension of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Data from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) yesterday showed that manufacturing output continued its downward spiral in November, falling 3.5 percent compared with the same month a year before. This was the 18th straight month of declines in factory activity and at the quickest pace since August as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to affect demand. StatsSA…

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Artificial intelligence in manufacturing

  By Florian Güldner, vice president, ARC Advisory Group.   Depending on your perspective, your thoughts on artificial intelligence (AI) probably fall somewhere between the technology being an abstract threat or possibility, and a real-world solution with concrete use cases where you may not even know the technology is at work. This article summarises the case studies presented at the AI workshop at ARC’s recent virtual European Industry Forum and shows potential usage of AI in machinery applications within today’s smart factories.     One of our key findings is…

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Multibillion-rand plan to boost south Durban economy and create hundreds of jobs

Durban – MULTIBILLION-RAND plans to develop areas south of Durban, including the development of an automotive supplier park special economic zone (SEZ) to attract Japanese and other investors and a R4 billion logistics park, are expected to revive the region and create hundreds of jobs. Among the plans include the possible manufacturing of the first hybrid vehicle by Toyota South Africa in Durban next year and the development of a locally branded vehicle. Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the government had been negotiating with…

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SA manufacturing decline slows

South African factory output contracted less than forecast and at the slowest pace in seven months in September on increased production of food and beverages.Output fell 2.6%, compared with a revised 11.1% decline in August, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report published on its website. The median estimate of nine economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 7.7% drop. Production rose 3.2% in the month. . The largest positive contribution came from food and beverages in September, the first full month that alcohol was allowed to be…

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National Glass Distribution is a leader in glass and aluminium manufacturing in SA

“Unbreakable transparency is the secret ingredient that gets you to 25 years,” says Belinda Louw, National Glass MD. “Cold, hard facts and the truth are the keys to great customer service. We don’t always walk on water, but if there is a problem we will fix it. At the end of the day, it’s our family name and reputation at stake.” National Glass is the only privately owned glass and aluminium wholesaler and manufacturer with a national footprint, supplying the wholesale trade from Polokwane to Vredendal, while exporting to many…

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Automotive industry investment in SA set to decline

    Planned capital investment by South Africa’s automotive industry, which increased in 2019 to its second highest level on record at R7.2 billion, appears set to decline until there is a global recovery in GDP growth and export markets from the impact of Covid-19. A new National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) confidence index, which anonymously canvassed the opinions of each of the CEOs of the seven automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in South Africa, revealed that 64.7% of them believe investment expenditure declined in the…

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Made in SA, not China.’ Why Foschini, Mr Price and Truworths now want local clothes

  After years of relying on Chinese imports, large South African clothing retailers are starting to source and manufacture more of their products locally. This enables them to respond faster to local fashion and weather trends. Sourcing SA-made summer clothes is easier than getting winter clothing, however. South African clothing retailers are reconsidering their love affair with cheap Chinese imports in favour of locally manufactured apparel. And while the disruption to international supply chains due to Covid-19 has emphasised the need to reduce reliance on Asian imports, the pandemic is…

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INFORMAL ECONOMY HAS THE POWER TO TRANSFORM AFRICA

    If your response to vendors plying their trade on South African streets is one of pity and despair, you need a lesson on the power of Africa’s informal economy, according to author, entrepreneur and informal business guru GG Alcock.   Alcock says that the informal business sector is the next great frontier of Africa and it is undergoing an economic revolution. “This is a new world of small people doing big things and transforming the continent,” he asserts. “Not only are these outlets and traders paying VAT on…

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Fresh data highlight a steady decline of SA’s manufacturing and mining sectors

    Manufacturing and mining data from Statistics South Africa this week indicate that the pace of deindustrialisation is picking up. The one bright spot is that while the mining sector’s output remains in a downward trajectory, sales are up because of prices. Let’s start with the manufacturing data released on Monday. Production in the sector fell 10.8% in August compared with August 2019, the 15th consecutive month of year-on-year decline. As NKC African Economics noted in a brief to clients, this underscores “how the sector was already struggling before…

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