Stats SA has published its latest GDP data, showing that South Africa’s economy grew at o.8% in 2018, slightly beating estimates.
Economists and analysts expected the country’s GDP figures to be around 0.6% and 0.7%.
Following a technical recession in 2018, most forecasts were revised down from the 1.2%-1.5% range, as the economic realities set in despite upbeat talk around political change in the country.
Third quarter data surprised on the upside, with the latest fourth quarter data showing the economy was bolstered by the communications and manufacturing industries.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, GDP output was up 1.4% from the third quarter, and up 1.1% from the fourth quarter of 2017.
The manufacturing industry expanded by 4.5%.
The divisions that made the largest contributions to the increase were petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products; motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment; and food and beverages, Stats SA said.
Finance, real estate and business services increased by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. Increased economic activity was reported for financial intermediation, insurance, auxiliary activities and real estate.
The transport, storage and communication industry increased by 7.7%, as a result of increases in land transport and transport support services.
In contrast, the trade, catering and accommodation industry decreased by 0.7%. Decreased economic activity was reported in wholesale trade, motor trade and catering and accommodation.
Mining decreased by 3.8% and contributed -0.3 of a percentage point to GDP growth, and construction decreased by 0.7%. General government services decreased by 0.6%.