July 13, 2020

Chart of the Week: South Africa’s manufacturing sector takes a COVID-related hit

by Fathom Consulting.

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South Africa is facing a series of extremely challenging economic and social problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisive early action, including a swift and strict lockdown, had kept the number of confirmed cases there relatively low while cases in many other countries surged. But case numbers are now rising sharply in South Africa and it seems that the early actions delayed, rather than reduced, the spread of the virus. The economic news has been severe, with the effect on the country’s manufacturing sector in April highlighted by the chart. The country has been easing its lockdown in recent weeks, which will have provided a boost to economic activity, but on Sunday the government announced a curfew for its citizens, who have been instructed to stay home between 9pm and 4am, and another ban on alcohol sales. The government had considered taking more stringent measures, but decided against doing so fearing that such a move would further damage economic activity, without significantly reducing the COVID-19 infection rate.

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