The seasonally adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 53.1 points in December from 52.6 points in November.
"While the headline number is positive, the underlying picture is more mixed. Most concerning was the business activity index which deteriorated further in December," Absa said in a statement.
South Africa's manufacturing sector bore the brunt of rotational power cuts last year as Eskom struggled to keep lights on for long periods in Africa's most industrialised economy.
"Sustained and intense load-shedding during the last month of 2022 was likely a key drag on the sector," Absa said.
There is also a likelihood of global supply chain disruptions due to an uptick in Covid-19 cases in China in the near term, it added.
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