South Africa slips into recession as economy shrinks

WEB_PHOTO_UK_SA_MARKETS_100_RAND_23_05_2017

A street money changer counts South African Rands in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 5, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa slipped into technical recession for the first time since 2009 after the economy contracted in the first quarter, led by weak manufacturing and trade sectors, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.

Africa's most developed economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the first quarter after shrinking by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the statistics agency said.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a quarter-on-quarter GDP expansion of 0.9 percent.

Gross domestic product rose 1.0 percent on an unadjusted year-on-year basis in the first quarter, compared with 0.7 percent contraction in the previous three months, the agency said.

Household expenditure decreased by 1.4 percent in the first three months of the year after an increase of 1.3 percent in the previous three months.

Government expenditure was down 0.2 after a marginal increase of 0.1 percent in the previous quarter.