Covid-19 impact on manufacturing industry worse than impact of 2008 financial global crisis

The manufacturing production industry has decreased by 49.4 percent year on year in April 2020.

Statistics SA (Stats SA) has announced that the manufacturing production industry slumped by 49.4 percent year on year in April 2020. 

Seasonally-adjusted manufacturing production decreased by 16.9 percent in the three months ended in April 2020 compared with the previous three months.

According to the statement, the decline comes after most of the sector came to a near standstill during Covid-19 lockdown in April and only partially returned to normal production levels in May. 

Stats SA director of industry statistics Nicolai Claassen describes the impact on the sector was much worse than what was seen during the 2008 financial global crisis.

He said that the biggest contributors to the decline were caused by: 

  • Iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery (-65.4 percent and contributing -13.2 percentage points); 
  • petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products (-41.5 percent and contributing -9.5 percentage points);
  • motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment (-98 percent and contributing -7.8 percentage points);
  • food and beverages (-19.4 percent and contributing -5.4 percentage points); and
  • wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing (-49.2 percent and contributing -4.9 percentage points).