SA factory health in focus on Friday

A health check of the South African manufacturing sector will be provided on Friday by Absa’s monthly poll of factory managers along with May’s new vehicle sales figures.

It is also busy day on the results front with results scheduled from retail group Mr Price and private hospital group Life Healthcare.

Mr Price said on April 26 it expected to report on Friday headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year to end-March grew by 18%-22%.

Private hospital group Life Healthcare said it expected to report HEPS for the six months to end-March more than doubled.

Life Healthcare said its results would be boosted by the inclusion of UK subsidiary Alliance Medical Group for the full six months period versus four months in the matching period.

“Southern African operations are expected to increase revenue by 8%-10% over the comparable period in 2017. Revenue was positively impacted by the higher volumes in the acute hospital division with paid patient days increasing by 2% above last year,” the trading update said.

The Absa sponsored manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for May is scheduled for release at 11am.

Investec Bank economist Lara Hodes forecast May’s PMI to rise to about 51.5 points from April’s 50.9 points.

Stellenbosch University’s Bureau of Economic Research (BER), which surveys factory managers for the PMI, reported a four point jump in April from March’s 46.9. A score over 50 indicates the manufacturing sector is expanding, and under 50 that it is contracting.

“The recovery in the new sales orders index triggered a lift in the PMI’s leading indicator to above one with orders outstripping inventory levels, which usually signifies future strength in output,” Hodes said in her weekly note e-mailed a week ago.

“Additionally although new global export orders have waned somewhat, they should still lend support to domestic exporters.”

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) is scheduled to release May’s new vehicle sales at about 2pm.

Hodes said she expects annual domestic new vehicle sales growth to moderate to about 1% in May from April’s 3.6%.

Naamsa said it anticipated an annual improvement of domestic sales volumes improving by more than 3% in 2018 from the prior year.