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South Africa’s GDP grows by 1.4% in third quarter


Pali Lehohla, South African Statistician General

South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 1.4% in the third quarter, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on 25 November 2014.

"The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the third quarter of 2014 increased by an annualised rate of 1.4% compared with an increase of 0.5% (revised from 0.6%) during the second quarter of 2014," says Stats SA.

The main contributors to the quarterly growth of 1.4% was the finance, real estate and business services and the wholesale, retail and motor trade; catering and accommodation industry (each contributing 0.5%), general government services (0.3%) and the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.

The growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry was due to high production in field crops and animal products while the growth in the wholesale, retail and motor trade, catering and accommodation industry was due to increases in turnover in most trade divisions.

Meanwhile, economic activity in the manufacturing industry reflected negative growth of 3.4% due to lower production in several divisions including basis iron and steel.

This as GDP has been benchmarked and rebased to reference the year 2010, said Executive Manager for National Accounts at Stats SA, Gerhardt Bouwer.

The unadjusted real GDP at market prices increased by 1.4% year-on-year compared with the third quarter of 2013. The estimates of GDP for the first nine months of 2014 compared with the corresponding period in 2013 increased by 1.5%.

Nominal GDP was estimated at R963 billion for the third quarter.

According to Bouwer, real annual GDP increased by 2.2% in 2013 following an increase of 2.2% (revised from an increase of 2.5%) in 2012.

Stats SA said the main contributors to the increase in economic activity in 2013 were finance, real estate and business services, general government services and the mining and quarrying industry among others.

Nedbank analysts said the rebased and reweighted GDP figures came out better than they had expected.

"The outcome is better than our growth forecast of 1.1% quarter-on-quarter, but slightly lower than the average market forecast of 1.5% quarter-on-quarter."

According to the analysts, the revisions to the GDP series upped nominal GDP by between 2.8% and 5% between 2006 and 2013, but after rebasing the real GDP growth figures were revised to 2.2 % from 1.9 % for 2013, 2.2 % from 2.5 % for 2012, 3.2 % from 3.6 % for 2011 and 3 % from 3.1 % for 2010.

"Provided there are no further lengthy strikes or major disruptions to power supply, the recovery is expected to gain moderate momentum in the final quarter of this year. Overall, real GDP is still forecast to grow by around 1.5% in 2014 as a whole.

"The outlook for 2015 is rosier, with the economy forecast to expand at a moderate pace of around 2.6% as production in mining and manufacturing returns to normal and consumer confidence gradually improves off a low base," says Nedbank analysts.

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