Results of the July 2019 Sassda Short Track Survey

The Sassda Short Track survey had 71 respondents in July. This survey uses the same questions as those used in the monthly International Stainless Steel Forum’s (ISSF) Short Track Report. However, the ISSF survey is only of stainless steel primary producers and thus the results are not directly comparable but are used to give context.

For Sassda respondents, the results of the first question were:

21% of Sassda respondents had a positive response to the current order situation, which is an increase, when compared to June (19%) and worse than a year ago (30%). The weighted average (1.90) is worse than June and worse than a year ago (2.22).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

For ISSF flat product producers, 50% of respondents had a positive response to their orders levels, which is lower than a year ago (59%). The weighted average is lower (2.35) compared to June 2018 (2.59).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

For ISSF long product producers, 50% of respondents had a positive response to their order levels which is higher than last month (38%) and worse than a year ago (71%). The weighted average (2.50) is better than May (2.27) and lower than a year ago (2.73).

For Sassda respondents, the results of the second question were:

15% of Sassda respondents thought the current business situation was positive, which is the same as June (15%) and lower than a year ago (27%). The weighted average is lower (1.86) compared to last month (1.93) and is worse than July last year which was (2.16).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

The percent of respondents who felt that the current business situation was sufficient or good stood at 40% for June 2019, which is lower than the previous month (45%) and lower than a year ago (50%).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

June was lower than May with 31% positive response. This was worse than the same month last year (71%). The weighted average of 2.27 was the same as the previous month (2.18) and lower than a year ago (2.73).

For Sassda respondents, the results of the third question were:

11% of respondents thought things would get better which is the same as the previous month (11%). However, 15% thought things would get worse.

The above data can be converted to the Sassda Expectations Index, where the index is calculated as 0.5 x % unchanged + % better. Above 50 would predict expansion in the next three months.


This month has shown a decrease in expectations and the figure has gone below the neutral 50 points, indicating that further contraction is expected (48.3%).

For ISSF Flat products. The results were:

In June 2019 0% of the respondents felt things would get better with 25 % expecting things to get worse. The weighted average (2.13) is lower than June 2018 (2.38).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

0% of ISSF long product respondents felt that business would get better in the next three months, with 38% thinking it would get worse. The weighted average of 1.93 which is the same as last month (1.93) and lower than a year ago (2.32).

The comments received from Sassda members were:

  • We need more contracts and work/investments;
  • Stagnant domestic demand, high & further electricity costs, petrol price and operational costs increases going forward;
  • The price of duplex put people off using it;
  • There is a lot of negativity in business overall;
  • Need a business partner to have a shop to supply stainless steel raw materials to Malawi industries;
  • Sourcing of stainless steel materials is far more economical and profitable to source from overseas suppliers than local mills!!

 Domestic: BER briefing: Searching for growth

“Last week, the BER hosted a morning briefing to clients to unpack the post-election political and economic environment in SA.   BER Chief Economist, Hugo Pienaar, took delegates through the latest outlook for the global and SA economy.  The weak outlook for 2019, with real GDP growth of only 0.2% expected, and the projected mild recovery in 2020 is the result of weaker global economic prospects being compounded by domestic constraints.  

“Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga spoke about the uncertain political environment where “it takes longer to take decisions” as “about everything is politicised”.  The IMF’s Dr Montfort Mlachila stated that SA has not approached the IMF for assistance and that it is the opinion of the institution that the country does not need support.  The IMF prefers countries to resolve their own problems and believes SA has the capacity to do so on both the growth and the fiscal front.  However, Montfort confirmed a point made in Pienaar’s presentation that SA’s debt trajectory is becoming “uncomfortable” and that the “debt-service bill is crowding out socially desirable spending”.

“The final speaker, Busani Ngcaweni, head of policy and research services at the SA presidency, argued that the government believes that policy certainty is important for growth. His presentation covered the “re-imagined” industrial policy focus and unpacked the 7 priorities identified by the sixth administration.”   (BER, 19 August 2019)