SA economy grows 1.4% in third quarter

26 November 2014

South Africa’s real gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.4% quarter on quarter from a revised 0.5% rise in the second quarter, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Tuesday.

“The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the third quarter of 2014 increased by an annualised rate of 1.4% compared with an increase of 0.5% (revised from 0.6%) during the second quarter of 2014,” Stats SA said.

The main contributors to the quarterly growth of 1.4% were the finance, real estate and business services; the wholesale, retail and motor trade; and the catering and accommodation industry, which each contributed 0.5 of a percentage point.

General government services contributed 0.3 of a percentage point. The growth of the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry was due to high production in field crops and animal products, Stats SA said.

Manufacturing, however, reflected negative growth of 3.4% – largely due to lower production in several divisions, including basic iron and steel.

Year-on-year increase

The unadjusted real GDP at market prices increased by 1.4% year-on-year compared with the third quarter of 2013. The estimates of GDP for the first nine months of 2014 compared with the corresponding period in 2013 increased by 1.5%.

The nominal GDP for the third quarter was estimated at R963-billion – R25-billion more than in the second quarter of 2014.

Gerhardt Bouwer, the executive manager for national accounts at Statistics SA, said real annual GDP increased by 2.2% in 2013 following an increase of 2.2% (revised from an increase of 2.5%) in 2012.

The GDP data contained revised estimates for the period 2004 to 2013. Business Day reported that major revisions were necessary “because the base year changed from 2005 to 2010 and the estimates of national accounts in SA were calculated according to the recommendations of the 2008 System of National Accounts (SNA)”.

‘Outlook is rosier’

Nedbank analysts said the rebased and reweighted GDP figures were better than they had expected.

“The outcome is better than our growth forecast of 1.1% quarter-on-quarter, but slightly lower than the average market forecast of 1.5% quarter-on-quarter.

“Provided there are no further lengthy strikes or major disruptions to power supply, the recovery is expected to gain moderate momentum in the final quarter of this year. Overall, real GDP is still forecast to grow by around 1.5% in 2014 as a whole.

“The outlook for 2015 is rosier, with the economy forecast to expand at a moderate pace of around 2.6% as production in mining and manufacturing returns to normal and consumer confidence gradually improves off a low base,” the analysts said.

SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov