South Africa's Absa PMI expands for first time in 7 months

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 1 (Reuters) – South Africa’s seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) moved into expansion for the first time in seven months in July, as improved demand saw sales and business activity improve, the survey showed on Thursday.

The index, which gauges manufacturing activity in Africa’s most industrialised economy, rose to 52.1 in July from 46.2 in June, edging above the 50-point mark separating contraction from expansion for the first time since December.

Four of the five major subcomponents in the index were above the neutral 50-point mark, with purchasing managers expecting business conditions to improve in the second half of the year, although they were less optimistic than before due to global trade uncertainty.

The employment sub-index was the sole component in contraction. South Africa’s rate of unemployment climbed to an 11-year high, data showed on Tuesday, on the back of a 3.2% contraction to economic growth in the first quarter. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo)

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