Statistic South Africa (Stats SA) published that the South African economy grew by 1.1% in the first quarter of 2021 (January – March) translating into an annualised growth rate of 4.6%. Despite this being the third consecutive quarter of positive growth, the South African economy is 2.7% smaller than it was in the first quarter of 2020. Real gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2021 was recorded at R761 billion. This level is roughly comparable to what the economy was producing in the first quarter of 2016 and is 2.7% down from the R782 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2020.
The biggest contributing industries to the GDP growth were mining (18.1%), finance (7.4%) and trade (6.2%) whilst electricity, gas and water and agriculture shrunk.
Stats SA says “The positive annualised growth in the mining sector was boosted by the production of platinum group metals, iron ore, gold and chromium. The growth in the finance sector was mostly driven by property services recording a rise in mortgage advances and bond registrations and the banking sector registering a rise in the number of credit extensions. Strong wholesale and retail activity underpinned growth in the trade sector.
Load shedding and a decline in the supply of water contributed to the contraction in the electricity, gas & water supply industry. The agriculture, forestry & fishing industry also performed poorly in the first quarter in comparison with the previous quarter, dragged lower by weaker production figures for field crops and animal products.”
Households consumption expenditure was mainly driven by Clothing & footwear (22.2%), Miscellaneous goods & services (9.8%) and furnishings, household equipment & maintenance (8.9%).
Stats SA noted in the miscellaneous goods & services category that growth was attributable to insurance-related products, as well as retail goods such as electrical appliances, jewellery and other personal effects.
For the full report visit Stats SA website.