A worker loads wine bottles onto a conveyer belt at the Rostberg bottling plant near Cape Town, November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG, April 2 (Reuters) – South African manufacturing activity declined in March, a Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey showed on Tuesday, with respondents suggesting that demand was sluggish.

The seasonally-adjusted PMI fell to 49.2 points in March from 51.7 in February, dropping below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.

“The PMI has been choppy in recent months, but the average for the first quarter of this year is equal to the final quarter of last year. In the fourth quarter, the gross value added by the sector managed to eke out a 0.2% quarter-on-quarter expansion,” Absa, which sponsors the PMI, said in a statement.

One positive survey finding was respondents were the most upbeat about expected business conditions since the start of 2023.

This is a developing story…

(Reporting by Alexander Winning)