A building website on the Rea Vaya highway in Johannesburg. (Photograph by Sharon Seretlo / Gallo Photographs by way of Getty Photographs)

  • South Africa’s economic system shrank 7% final yr – the worst efficiency in practically a century.
  • New information reveals the development sector has been hit the toughest.
  • However the agricultural sector grew 13% final yr.
  • For extra articles go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The most recent figures from Statistics SA present that South Africa’s economic system shrank 7% final yr – after struggling for years earlier than the pandemic.

It was the worst collapse for the reason that melancholy of the Nineteen Twenties:

Supply: Economists.co.za

The 7% drop eclipsed the two.1% contraction in 1992, because the nation grappled with extreme drought and worldwide financial issues. Following the 2008 world monetary disaster, South Africa’s economic system contracted 1.5% in 2009.

South Africa has skilled one of many tightest lockdowns on the planet and, ultimately, the contraction was not as extreme as some feared. The IMF, for instance, predicted a 7.5% drop in South Africa’s GDP.

This is what we now know concerning the state of the economic system

The development sector was essentially the most affected in 2020

Building exercise fell 20% final yr. A lot of the constructing sector was closed between March 27, when the lockdown started in South Africa, and June 1, when the nation moved to degree 3 and all building was re-authorized.

The manufacturing (-12%) and mining (-11%) sectors have been then the toughest hit.

Supply: Statistics SA

There’s some hope that building – which has already proven a robust restoration within the fourth quarter – may have a a lot better 2021, thanks partly to authorities infrastructure spending.

Final yr, the state accelerated 51 new infrastructure tasks, together with main dams, roads and reasonably priced housing tasks.

2020 has been an distinctive yr for agriculture

Declared a necessary service and open at some stage in the lockdown, the agricultural sector grew by greater than 13% final yr.

Bumper crops, good rains, robust export demand and the weak point of the rand have all supported the sector.

Agricultural export revenues rose 3% final yr, to a three-year file of $ 10.2 billion, with corn exports for the second half of 2020 growing by greater than 200% from 2019, mentioned Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Enterprise. “The citrus trade additionally had a incredible yr with higher costs and robust volumes as demand elevated in key export locations.”

Demand for meat (animal merchandise account for over 50% of the worth of the nation’s gross agricultural manufacturing) additionally remained surprisingly robust. “Animal merchandise have challenged seasonal demand pressures throughout the winter in addition to disruptions from Covid-19 and got here out stronger as costs have been resilient in most classes,” Makube says.

He expects one other good yr for the agricultural sector. “Latest harvest estimates for the nation’s largest staple, corn, point out a possible harvest north of 16 million tonnes for 2021. Horticultural and ranching circumstances are ripe for stellar new development. of agriculture.

South Africa’s 2020 disaster was among the many worst on the planet

Nations like China and Turkey continued to develop regardless of the worldwide pandemic, however the overwhelming majority of economies contracted final yr.

South Africa’s 7% drop in GDP has been among the many worst – though the United Kingdom (-9.9%), Philippines (-9.5%), Italy (-8.9%), France (-8.3%), and India (-8%) took greater hits.

South Africa’s GDP per capita is now again to 2005 ranges

As South Africa’s economic system has stagnated and shrunk lately, its inhabitants has grown. Because of this the common way of life and wealth have fallen, measured by GDP per capita (which divides the worth of the economic system by the quantity of people that stay in a rustic):

Supply: Statistics SA

GDP per capita fell in 2020 to a degree final seen in 2005.

South African staff earned R29 billion much less in 2020

Compensation paid to staff was practically R29 billion decrease in 2020 in comparison with the earlier yr, Momentum Investments notes in its report on GDP figures. The most important declines have been recorded in building (10%) in addition to in transport and communications (-12%). However in agriculture and authorities compensation elevated final yr, up 3% and 5% respectively.

There are indicators of hope

South Africa confirmed stronger than anticipated development within the fourth quarter, leaving the economic system 1.5% bigger within the fourth quarter than within the third. Fourth-quarter GDP was “solely” 4.1% decrease than the identical quarter in 2019, whereas within the third quarter it was nonetheless greater than 6% decrease than a yr earlier.

This was as a result of a 21% annualized surge within the manufacturing sector within the fourth quarter.

“Generally, South Africa has recovered effectively from an excessive lockdown and this restoration has been effectively above normal expectations,” Kevin Lings, chief economist at Stanlib Asset Administration, mentioned The Cash Present of 702. He says there was a “very spectacular restoration” throughout all sectors.

2021 ought to look higher – however pre-pandemic GDP is years away

Given the partial shutdown of the economic system within the first two months of the primary quarter with the renewal of foreclosures measures, the fourth quarter development price is anticipated to stabilize within the first quarter of 2021, the economist at Momentum Investments mentioned. Johann van Tonder.

Intermittent shedding may even cut back development.

However the outlook for 2021 is “reasonably promising” at this level, with 3.4% development anticipated, he provides.

Whereas the consensus appears to anticipate South Africa’s economic system to return to pre-pandemic ranges solely by 2024, Lings expects it to get better a yr extra early in 2023.

He says the economic system could proceed to shock on the upside, particularly if the vaccine rollout is profitable – which is able to increase tourism and leisure.

(Compiled by Helena Wasserman)

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