JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's economy grew by 3.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019 after contracting by a revised 3.1 percent in the first three months, helped by the mining sector which recorded its strongest growth since 2016, the national statistics agency said on Tuesday.
Statistics South Africa said mining was up 14.4 percent, followed by the finance sector which added 4.1 percent and trade which gained 3.9 percent during the quarter.
Agriculture however fell by 4.2 percent on the back of the lower production of field crops and horticultural products. This was its second straight quarter of shrinking.
"Overall, the growth in the first half of the year was up by 0.4 percent," Stats SA chief director for national accounts Michael Manamela said.
The aversion of a technical recession -- which occurs when GDP contracts for two consecutive quarters -- is a ray of light for an economy that has struggled to grow meaningfully since slumping into a full year recession during a 2008/9 global crisis.
Critics partly blame South Africa's economic woes on nearly a decade of mismanagement under former president Jacob Zuma, who was forced to step down in 2018 before the end of his second five year term.
Last month the National Treasury released for public comment an economic blueprint to boost growth and create jobs and bring unemployment down from 29 percent of the labour force.
The document details structural reforms that could reverse the downward trend in the country's growth potential and competitiveness, raise annual economic growth by three percentage points and create one million jobs.
The Treasury expects GDP growth of 1.5 percent in 2019 compared with 0.8 percent last year and 1.4 percent in 2017.
#Agriculture fell by 4,2% on the back of lower production of field crops and horticultural products. This was the second consecutive quarter of contraction #GDP Listen here for more: https://t.co/cIuR5xjuOf#StatsSA pic.twitter.com/at0xNDt7Ua— Stats SA (@StatsSA) September 3, 2019
#Finance, real estate and business services – the largest industry in the South African #economy – grew by 4,1% driven by the banking & insurance sectors #GDP Listen here for more: https://t.co/cIuR5xjuOf#StatsSA pic.twitter.com/xxIWfCf0Tm— Stats SA (@StatsSA) September 3, 2019
- African News Agency (ANA) / BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE