JOHANNESBURG, June 5 (Reuters) – Private-sector activity in South Africa was little changed in May from April, remaining in positive territory, as new orders and output failed to register significant gains.
The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, was at 50.2 in May compared with 50.3 in April, still above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
“PMI remained above 50 for the ninth month running in May, signalling the longest sequence of overall improvement in operating conditions in five years,” Markit said in a statement.
The sub-index for new orders fell to 50.1 in May from 50.4 previously. Output rose slightly to 49.9 from 49.6.
South Africa’s economic outlook has been clouded by credit rating downgrades to “junk” by two of the three major rating agencies after President Jacob Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in late March.
A fall below investment-grade typically constricts funding and sharply raises borrowing costs.