Manufacturing confidence fragile

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (bizior)

Business confidence in the manufacturing sector remained fragile during the last quarter of 2013.

According to the manufacturing circle’s quarterly bulletin, elevated input costs, subdued demand, stiff competition and instability in labour relations affected the manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing circle includes a number of SA’s leading manufacturing companies from various industries.

The release of its quarterly bulletin follows an announcement of Statistics SA earlier this week that showed an expansion of 1.3% in manufacturing output during 2013.

According to the survey, the majority of firms envisages fra-gile to stable conditions within the sector in the short term due to the possibility of strikes, socio-political instability and an increase in input costs as a result of a weaker rand.

“Seasonal factors, depressed domestic consumption spending and increased competitiveness resulted in a lackluster performance of manufacturing sales in the fourth quarter of 2013,” the survey says.

Input costs remained high du-ring the quarter, while telecommunication and logistical challenges, raw material scarcities and electricity and water supply interruptions impacted a number of production processes.

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