SA economy slows

Real gross domestic product increased by 0,9% in Q1 of 2013, down from 2,5% in Q4 of 2012.

Real gross domestic product increased by 0,9% in Q1 of 2013, down from 2,5% in Q4 of 2012. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Economists on Wednesday said they are surprised after new figures showed South Africa's real gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0,9 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

It is the lowest rate of economic growth since 2009.

The figures were released by Statistics South Africa earlier in the day.

In the last quarter of 2012, South Africa's economy grew by 2,5 percent.

Nedbank capital economist Mohammed Nalla said the latest numbers could be a warning sign.

"What's worrying is that the growth estimates that informed the size of our budget deficit are looking a lot more vulnerable."

FNB Chief Economist Sizwe Nxedlana called on all stakeholders to reach a peaceful agreement into labour disputes in a bid to boost investor confidence.

The manufacturing sector was largely responsible for the decline, figures revealed.