The Absa Purchasing Managers' Index has edged above 50 for the first time since July 2016, suggesting the manufacturing sector started the year on a relatively solid footing.
The PMI, compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) and sponsored by Absa, rose to 50.9 in January 2017, up from 46.7 in December 2016. A value of 50 indicates no change in the activity, a value above 50 indicates increased activity and a value below 50 indicates decreased activity.
"The rise in the headline PMI was supported by four of the five underlying subcomponents increasing in January compared to December 2016," the BER said on Wednesday.
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