South Africa's Purchasing Managers' Index edged up to 50.7 in September from 46.7 in August, the second consecutive monthly rise and pushing above contractionary territory for the first time since June, sponsor Kagiso Securities said on Monday.

While a key short-term domestic constraint to production is now out of the way, soft global demand should ensure that the ... PMI remains relatively depressed in the foreseeable future, Abdul Davids, head of research at Kagiso Asset Management said in a statement.

This was borne out by the fact that the ratio between new sales orders and inventories remained at an early-2009 low of 0.85 in September, showing the level of inventory in the manufacturing sector is currently too high in relation to the demand for factory goods.

September August

Business activity* 53.4 46.6

New sales orders* 48.9 44.6

Backlog of sales orders 45.7 38.1

Inventories* 57.4 52.2

Purchasing commitments 54.3 45.0

Expected business conditions 60.8 53.7

Suppliers' performance* 54.2 52.2

Prices 73.9 75.2

Employment* 43.8 43.1

PMI (Unadjusted) 55.6 47.3

PMI (Adjusted) 50.7 46.7

*Seasonally adjusted using Census X12