SA GDP increases by 0.7%

> Carlos Lopes

Cape Town – The country’s seasonally adjusted real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at market prices has increased by an annualised rate of 0.7% in the third quarter of 2015.

The increase comes after the GDP contracted by 1.3% during the second quarter of 2015, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Wednesday, 25 November.

Michael Manamela, Stats SA’s Executive Manager for National Accounts, said the main contributors to the increase in economic activity in the third quarter of 2015 were the manufacturing industry (0.8%); the finance, real estate and business services (0.6%) and the wholesale, retail and motor trade, catering and accommodation (0.3%).

“Negative contributions were recorded by the mining and quarrying industry (-0.8%) and the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (0.3%),” he said.

According to Stats SA, the seasonally adjusted annualised value added by the primary sector recorded a decrease of 10.4%, while the secondary and tertiary sectors recorded increases of 3.3% and 1.9% respectively during the third quarter of 2015. The unadjusted real GDP at market prices for the third quarter of 2015 increased by 1% compared with the third quarter of 2014.

The estimate of GDP for the first nine months of 2015 increased by 1.5% compared with the corresponding period in 2014.

Drought impacts growth in the agriculture sector

Joe De Beer, Stats SA’s Deputy Director-General for Economic Statistics, said the economy was busy with a “very slow and gradual recovery”.

Speaking to SAnews, De Beer said the agricultural sector struggled due to a number of factors, including the current drought challenges.

“Most of the contraction in the economy still came from agriculture because of the adverse drought conditions.

“It is difficult to predict … but the poor growth in agriculture that you saw in the second and the third quarter was because of the lower than usual harvest that the farmers reported and the problem now with the drought persisting into the third quarter and even now, as we speak today, into November the fourth quarter of the year, it is negatively influencing the planting season again.

“So if the planting needs to get delayed, chances are that you will have a very weak harvest again in the middle of next year. So the weather already impacted negatively on the crop for 2015 but it is also going to impact negatively on the crop for 2016 but by how much that is going to be will depend on whether we start getting rain, how much rain we are getting or for how long the drought persists,” he said.

Stats SA to publish expenditure on GDP

Meanwhile, Stats SA has announced that as of June 2016, the responsibility for publishing expenditure on GDP will be shifted from the South African Reserve Bank to Stats SA.

“Stats SA had planned to publish fourth quarter (2015) expenditure on GDP in March 2016.

“However, to finalise processes and to ensure a smooth transition from the Reserve Bank to Stats SA, Stats SA’s first statistical release containing expenditure on GDP has been delayed by one quarter,” Stats SA said. – SAnews.gov.za

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