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Rand strengthens as SA’s Q4 GDP grows more than expected

Statistic South Africa says the country’s economy grew by 3.1% in the fourth quarter of last year

Picture: Pixabay.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand has strengthened by more than half a percent off the back of better than expected economic numbers.

Statistic South Africa says the country’s economy grew by 3.1% in the fourth quarter of last year, largely driven by a recovery in agriculture and trade.

For the full 2017 year, the economy grew by 1.3% that’s up from 0.6% the previous year.

The agriculture industry registered the highest growth at 37.5%, although the expansion was slower than in the third quarter when the sector grew 41.1%.

Trade recovered in the fourth quarter to expand 4.8% after falling by 0.1% in the prior quarter, while manufacturing grew 4.3% from 3.7% in the third quarter.

“Primary industries had very robust growth and that was emanating from the number of crops and harvest from agricultural and fisheries sector,” Statistics South Africa Deputy Director General Joe de Beer said.

Gross domestic product rose 1.5% on an unadjusted year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter, compared with a revised 1.3% expansion in the previous three months.

The currency is currently hovering around R11.71 to the dollar.

Stats SA says the economy grew by 3.1% in fourth quarter of 2017 from 2.3% in the third quarter.

Director and chief economist at ETM Analysts George Glynos expects the economy to improve even further this year.

“It will become more difficult to achieve the same kind of growth rate going forward. That being said we do expect a President Cyril Ramaphosa effect bounce.”

The economy grew by 1.3% in 2017 compared a revised h 0.6% in 2016, the agency said.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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