By Coface, international credit insurer.

Growth in SA mining production should continue to improve in the coming months as the effects of last year’s five-month platinum strike works through the economy.

However, poor global growth, lower commodity prices and interrupted electricity supply will keep output relatively weak.

Growth contributors

Annual mining production accelerated to 7.5% in February from a 2.3% decline in January. The biggest drivers of the annual figure were iron ore, platinum group metals as well as manganese ore. On a seasonally adjusted basis, production was up 3.8% month-on-month and down 1.3% quarter-on-quarter for the three months to February.

Poor performing commodities

The major contributors to the quarterly decline were gold, diamonds, other metallic minerals, other non-metallic minerals, iron ore and chromium ore. This was counteracted by increases of 1.1 and 0.1 percentage points respectively by platinum group metals as well as coal production.

Annual mineral sales declined by 14.5% in January, following a 3.4% fall in December. The annual decrease was mainly a result of decreased sales of platinum group metals. On a seasonally adjusted basis, mineral sales dropped by 5.1% month-on-month and 3.7% quarter-on-quarter for the three months to January.

The mining-related categories that did record expansion were basic iron and steel, non‐ferrous metal products and metal products and machinery.

Output growth is expected to continue to improve in 2015 but this will mainly reflect the low base established in 2014.