SA's economy grows 1,3% in 2017

South Africa’s economy grew by a better-than-expected 1.3% last year. It was driven by financial, real estate and business services. An economist says improved conditions in the agricultural sector was also a contributing factor. Video: eNCA
File: StatsSA on Tuesday revealed South Africa’s gross domestic product grew by 3,1 percent in the final quarter of 2017. Photo: eNCA

JOHANNESBURG – Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) on Tuesday revealed South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3,1 percent in the final quarter of 2017.

Overall, South Africa’s economy grew by a better-than-expected 1,3 percent last year, driven by maily by agriculture.

The improved economic performance "was partly driven by an agriculture industry bouncing back from one of the worst droughts in recent history", it said.

"After a wobbly start to 2017, which saw economic activity contract in the first quarter, the economy saw sustained growth for the remainder of the year. The fourth quarter experienced the highest growth rate of 2017, with the economy expanding by 3.1 percent quarter-on-quarter," Stats SA said in a statement.

The trade sector also contributed to Tuesday's good news, Stats SA added, and was the second largest contributor to fourth-quarter growth.

The growth was driven by financial, real estate and business services.

Treasury had only predicted growth of only 1 percent.

South Africa's economy has experienced sluggish growth in recent years with the jobless rate rising to 27.7 percent.

In April, the country lost its investment grade credit rating when the world's two major agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor's, downgraded its sovereign debt to junk status.

Their move was partly blamed on former president Jacob Zuma's sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March.

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma last month, the stock market has rebounded and the local rand currency has reached its strongest level against the dollar in three years on hopes he will reform the economy.

Additional reporting eNCA

AFP

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