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Manufacturing in South Africa Plunges

South African manufacturing has faced a record 21.6 percent decline in April 2009 compared with April 2008.

An economist at Standard Bank Group, Ltd., Johan Botha said, "We expected the number to be substantially lower than last year but this was a really shocking result." Falling domestic demand combined with a drastic fall in exports produced the sharp 21.6 percent decline in manufacturing.

Africa's biggest manufacturers, such as ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd. and Sappi Ltd curtailed output and have dismissed workers due to dwindling export demand. Automakers have been forced to do the same. Vehicle sales tumbled 35 percent in May from last year. The plunge in manufacturing and vehicle sales whittled domestic output and ultimately, pushed the economy into its first recession in 17 years.


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