Results of the June 2019 Sassda Short Track Survey

The Sassda Short Track survey had 53 respondents in June. 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:


19% of Sassda respondents had a positive response to the current order situation, which is a decrease, when compared to May (20%) and worse than a year ago (28%). The weighted average (1.93) is worse than May and worse than a year ago (2.12).

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 (64%). The weighted average is lower (2.40) compared to May 2018 (2.61).

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 the lower than last month (58%) and worse than a year ago (83%). The weighted average (2.56) is worse than April (2.72) and lower than a year ago (3.09).

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

15% of Sassda respondents thought the current business situation was positive, which is higher than May (11%) and lower than a year ago (19%). The weighted average is higher (1.93) compared to last month (1.89) and is worse than June last year which was (2.03).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

The percent of respondents who felt that the current business situation was sufficient or good stood at 45% for May 2019, which is lower than the previous month (53%) and lower than a year ago (50%).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

May was the same as April with 38% positive response. This was worse than the same month last year (71%). The weighted average of 2.27 was the same previous month (2.27) and lower than a year ago (2.83).

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

11% of respondents thought things would get better which is lower than the previous month (20%). However, 13% 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.

For ISSF Flat products. The results were:

In May 2019 0% of the respondents felt things would get better with 20 % expecting things to get worse. The weighted average (2.20) is lower than May 2018 (2.50).

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 lower than last month (2.15) and lower than a year ago (2.41).

The comments received from Sassda members were:

  • The decent projects with stainless steel are being snapped up by the larger fabricators and suppliers by offering very competitive prices.  This effectively cuts out the smaller companies.  Business is tough!
  • We’re expecting things to get better but honestly not sure if that’s based on optimism or reality at this stage.
  • Clients looking at prices going for cheaper options.

ABSA Purchasing Managers’ Index June 2019

“The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 46.2 index points in June 2019, up from 45.4 in May. The average level for the second quarter was 46.3 points, below the level recorded in the first quarter of 2019.  In contrast, available official statistics suggest that quarterly manufacturing output is set to rebound strongly in the second quarter after a dismal first quarter.   However, part of this rebound is driven by a normalisation in output after load shedding disrupted production earlier in the year.  Furthermore, the PMI survey suggests that underlying demand conditions remain weak, which limits the possibility of a sustained recovery in output going forward.  Indeed, the index tracking expected business conditions in six months’ time declined by a significant 6.7 points after remaining unchanged in May. Part of this may be due to the reported decline in export orders in June, with the expectation of slower global growth foretelling that export demand will likely remain under pressure in coming months.

“In June, only one of the five major subcomponents came in above 50 points – the index tracking suppliers’ deliveries.  This index rose to a lofty 56.9 points from 55.7 in May.  Both the business activity and new sales orders indices edged higher in June but remained well below the neutral 50-point mark for a respective sixth and fifth consecutive month. The inventories index also increased in June after declining in the preceding two months. The only major subcomponent of the headline PMI to decline compared to May was the employment index.  Worryingly, the employment index recorded its worst quarter since 2009, which does not bode well for potential job creation in the sector.

“Purchasing prices edged higher in June after two straight declines. The uptick was likely driven by a weaker rand exchange rate, which pushes up the cost of imported raw materials and intermediate products.”