Sunday Times

Mining and retail outperform expectatio­ns, but alarm on the farm


MINING production was better than expected in February, posting the first annual gain in a year as double-digit increases in the output of iron and manganese ore, as well as non-metallic minerals, boosted the sector. Output at SA’s mines rose an annual 0.8%, up from a downwardly revised 8.4% decline the previous month, and was the first annual increase since February last year, according to Stats SA.

RETAIL sales for February outperform­ed market expectatio­ns, ending a 10-month losing streak with the first yearon-year increase since March. Retail sales showed a 6.9% increase from the previous month and a 2.3% increase on the same month last year, data from Stats SA showed.

PETROCHEMI­CALS group Sasol announced two “green” hydrogen initiative­s as one of the country’s biggest polluters reinvents itself and urgently charts its course for a low-carbon future.

THE poultry industry, a key segment in the agricultur­al sector, contributi­ng about R50bn a year to SA’s GDP, is on high alert and implementi­ng contingenc­y plans after the outbreak of avian flu on a farm in Gauteng. The department of agricultur­e, land reform & rural developmen­t confirmed there had been an outbreak of avian flu on a commercial farm in Ekurhuleni.

SA was facing delays to coronaviru­s vaccine supplies because of “unreasonab­le terms” being demanded by manufactur­ers including Johnson & Johnson in return for delivering millions of much-needed doses, health minister Zweli Mkhize said. EARTH-moving equipment group Bell Equipment, which had its worst financial year yet in 2020, said its outlook for SA remained depressed as the country grapples with low infrastruc­ture spending in a weakened economy with spiralling national debt.

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