Filomena Scalise

Pretoria - South Africa's GDP contracted 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year, its first quarterly contraction since a 2009 recession, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.

The economy had expanded 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“The main contributors to the decrease in economic activity in the first quarter of 2014 were the mining and quarrying industry (-1.3 percentage points) and the manufacturing industry (-0.7 of a percentage point).”

Positive contributions by other industries included finance, real estate and business services (0.4 of a percentage point), the wholesale, retail and motor trade; catering and accommodation industry (0.3 of a percentage point) and the transport, storage and communication industry and general government services (each contributing 0.2 of a percentage point).

On an unadjusted year-on-year basis, the economy grew by 1.6 percent in the first quarter compared with 2 percent in Q4.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a quarter-on-quarter contraction of 0.1 percent, while forecasting year-on-year growth of 1.9 percent. - Reuters and Sapa