South Africa’s statistics bureau (Stats SA) on Tuesday March 3, announced that the country slipped into recession in the final three months of 2019.
South Africa’s economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter, following a revised 0.8% contraction in the third quarter. This resulted in the third recession to hit the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.
For the whole of 2019, the South African economy grew by only 0.2% (in real terms). In 2018, it saw growth of only 0.8%. The fourth-quarter decline is larger than economists had predicted, as the economy battles the fallout of load shedding.
StatsSA said weak agriculture output and transport were the main drags on growth, followed by construction, mining and manufacturing which outweighed positive contributions from finance and government spending.
Joe de Beer, Stats SA’s deputy director-general for economic statistics told reporters;
“The economy is in recession again. That is two consecutive quarters of contraction, after being in recession in the first two quarters of 2018.”
South Africa has struggled to emerge from an economic slump in the two years since Cyril Ramaphosa became president, promising sweeping reforms.
The weak growth is likely to add more woes to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, as the economy under his leadership continues to suffer amid internal and external pressures.