South Africa slumps into recession, again

South Africa’s gross domestic product contracted 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, following a revised 0.8% contraction in the third quarter, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Tuesday.

Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a contraction of 0.1% in quarter-on-quarter and seasonally adjusted terms in the final three months of last year.

“The economy is in recession again. That is two consecutive quarters of contraction, after being in recession in the first two quarters of 2018,” Joe de Beer, Stats SA’s deputy director-general for economic statistics, told reporters.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, agriculture declined 7.6%, transport 7.2%, construction 5.9%, electricity 4% and retail 3.8%, the data showed.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, agriculture declined 7.6%, transport 7.2%, construction 5.9%, electricity 4% and retail 3.8%, the data showed.

Gross domestic product overall shrank 0.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter after expanding 0.1% the quarter before.

The economy expanded 0.2% in the 2019 calendar year compared with 0.8% in 2018.

South Africa has struggled to emerge from an economic slump in the two years since Cyril Ramaphosa became president, promising sweeping reforms.

The Treasury has cut 2020 economic growth forecast to 0.9%.

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