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SA attains 2 successive quarters of growth

The expansion comes after a revised figure of 2.6% in the third quarter. It’s welcome news as the country entered into a technical recession last year.

Picture: Pexels.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has now seen two successive quarters of growth with the country's economy expanding by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of last year.

The expansion comes after a revised figure of 2.6% in the third quarter; it’s welcomed news as the country entered into a technical recession last year.

Economists polled by Reuters had predicted economic growth of 1.6% for the three months to the end of December.

The biggest gains were in agriculture which saw a quarter-on-quarter increase of 7.9%. This is good news as the country has been recovering from a drought.

Manufacturing saw a gain of 4.5% and finance at 2.7%.

However, mining saw a decrease of 3.8% while construction contracted by 0.7%.

Stats SA says overall, the country's economy grew 0.8% last year versus a revised 1.4% expansion in 2017.

POTENTIAL GROWTH

There appears to be widespread consensus that although the economy has been constrained, there are positive signs of new expansion.

Standard Bank chief economist Goolam Ballim said it’s encouraging to see that the agricultural sector has bounced back with a quarter-on-quarter increase of 7.9%.

“There was some symbolism of growth and recovering in the manufacturing and agricultural sector, of course, farming is always subject to the vagaries of weather.”

Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said there were positive signs for potential growth.

“We still hope that we will gain better momentum during the course of the year.”

Business Unity South Africa said it's encouraged that manufacturing was one of the biggest contributors to growth, but it said the 0.8% overall growth rate for last year is disappointing.