Data rejig lifts GDP by 25%

Zambia’s economy was 25 percent bigger in 2010 than previously estimated, the statistics agency said yesterday after overhauling its data. Gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 97.2 billion kwacha (R180.6bn) instead of 77.7 billion kwacha, Goodson Sinyenga, the acting director at the Central Statistical Office, said. The data was updated to change the base year to 2010 and revise the contribution of various industries to economic output. Industry contributions to GDP were last updated 20 years ago and the mining industry has grown significantly since then. The new benchmarking of the national accounts would affect government debt ratios and other metrics, Sinyenga said. “A re-weighting of GDP that leads to the GDP number being more reflective of actual economic trends could lead to weaker growth than [is] being forecast this year,” Chris Becker, a market strategist at ETM Analytics in Johannesburg, said before the data was released. – Bloomberg


Platinum levy plan slammed

A proposed 15 percent levy on Zimbabwe’s platinum exports equated to a “punishment” that threatened the industry, the country’s mining lobby said this week. In December last year the government proposed a tax on shipments of unrefined platinum that would apply from January 1 this year. The levy would be “ill-timed, distortionary and reduces export competitiveness”, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said in a document submitted to a parliamentary committee and obtained by Bloomberg News. “With the platinum price already depressed, compounded by other challenges, this will hamper viability of the platinum sub-sector.” – Bloomberg


IMF forecasts slower growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected Ghana’s economy to grow 4.8 percent this year, the fund’s resident representative, Samir Jahjar, told reporters yesterday. The figure is substantially lower than the 8 percent growth for this year announced by Finance Minister Seth Terkper in his Budget in November last year. It is also lower than the 5.5 percent growth the IMF said Ghana recorded last year. The IMF said non-oil growth would be 4.5 percent in the same period. – Reuters