Manufacturing production flat in 2014

South Africa’s manufacturing industry is dominated by three sectors, namely food & beverages, petroleum & chemical products1, and metals & machinery2. Together these three sectors account for two thirds of total manufacturing production.

Manufacturing production showed very little change in 2014 compared with 2013. Stats SA’s preliminary estimate recorded a slight contraction of 0,1%, following four years of positive growth during 2010–2013.

The largest contributors to the weak performance of manufacturing production in 2014 were metals & machinery and glass & non-metallic mineral products.

Metals & machinery fell by 3,0% in 2014 compared with 2013. Its annual growth rate (see graph) started the year in positive territory (January, February and March) but turned negative for the rest of the year, reaching a low of ‑21,2% year-on-year in July 2014 as a result of a four-week long metals and engineering strike.


Manufacturing production in the glass & non-metallic mineral products sector fell by 5,8% in 2014 compared with 2013.

Although total manufacturing showed a small contraction in 2014, six of the ten manufacturing divisions recorded positive growth. For example, communication & professional equipment3 grew by 9,4% (2014 compared with 2013), food & beverages grew by 2,1%, and furniture & ‘other’ manufacturing grew by 3,4%.

Other results from the publication are:

  • Overall manufacturing production increased by 1,1% in December 2014 compared with December 2013.
  • Seasonally adjusted manufacturing production increased by 2,5% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the third quarter of 2014.

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1 Petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products.

2 Basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery.

3 Radio, television and communication apparatus and professional equipment.