South Africa’s Economy Expands at Slower Rate in First Quarter

PUBLISHED: Tue, 08 Jun 2021 13:08:10 GMT
Mfuneko Toyana

PRETORIA, June 8 (Reuters) – South Africa’s economy expanded at a slower rate in the first quarter of this year compared with the previous three months, as key sectors of mining and trade expanded while farming saw a contraction, data from the statistics agency showed on Tuesday.

The country’s gross domestic product expanded by 1.1% quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of 2021 on a seasonally adjusted and not annualised basis, after an expansion of 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

On a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis, the economy grew by 4.6% quarter-on-quarter, following growth of 5.8% in the previous quarter.

Mining expanded 4.2% on a seasonally adjusted, not annualised basis, and trade rose 1.5%. Agriculture fell 0.8%.

“We can see that our rise in the first quarter of 2021 hasn’t reached the levels where we have been… Indeed we see we haven’t come out of the woods sufficiently enough in terms of responding to what has happened in COVID-19 despite the fact that the economy is growing,” Statistician General Risenga Maluleke told a news conference.

On a year-on-year basis, GDP contracted 3.2% in the three months to the end of March, compared to a contraction of 4.2% in the previous quarter.

South Africa’s economy deteriorated sharply last year after the government imposed a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The economy contracted 7% in 2020.

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