South Africa’s economy contracted by 1,3% (seasonally adjusted and annualised) in the second quarter of 2015, according to preliminary estimates of real gross domestic product (GDP) released by Stats SA.
The quarter-on-quarter decrease in overall economic activity was characterised by five of the ten main industry groups shrinking in size, while the other five experienced some growth.
The agriculture industry experienced the largest fall in activity, contracting by 17,4% quarter-on-quarter. With warnings that South Africa is currently experiencing its worst drought since 1992, decreases in the production of field crops (such as maize, sunflower and sugar cane) and horticultural products (such as citrus subtropical fruit) contributed to the industry’s decline.
The mining industry contracted by 6,8% quarter-on-quarter, mainly as a result of lower production in the mining of coal and iron ore.
Manufacturing activity declined by 6,3% quarter-on-quarter mainly as a result of decreases in two manufacturing divisions, namely basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery; and petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products.
Electricity and trade industries were the other two industries that experienced quarter-on-quarter decreases in activity, falling by 2,9% and 0,4% respectively.
The following industries grew over the same period: finance (+2,7%), personal services (+1,3%), government (+0,6%), transport (+0,2%) and construction (+0,2%).
The last time South Africa’s economy experienced a quarter-on-quarter contraction was in the first quarter of 2014, when overall economic activity decreased by 1,6%.
Other quick facts from the release:
- The unadjusted real GDP at market prices increased by 1,2 per cent year-on-year.
- The estimate of real GDP for the first six months of 2015 increased by 1,6 per cent compared with the corresponding period in 2014.
- Nominal GDP was estimated at R991 billion for the second quarter of 2015.