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.