South Africa Economic Forecast

South Africa Economic Outlook

January 22, 2019

Third-quarter growth topped analysts’ estimates, blunting a short-lived technical recession amid the build-up of inventories. In demand-side terms, household spending staged a comeback on the heels of last year’s value-added tax hike. Fixed investment languished, however, as debt-burdened firms held off amid heightened economic uncertainty. Moreover, net exports restrained growth owing to a pick-up in imports. A supply-side look at the fourth quarter suggests the economic recovery persisted through the end of the year; manufacturing- and retail-sector activity has been picking up since October. On top of that, survey-based data through December hints at a slight improvement in economic sentiment. With little room to maneuver fiscally, Cyril Ramaphosa’s growth-supportive reforms continue to underpin economic prospects. However, they are expected to face hurdles over the coming months in the run-up to this year’s general election.

South Africa Economic Growth

Higher real wages and Ramaphosa’s last-ditch fiscal stimulus are expected to lift economic sentiment ahead of this year’s elections, stoking household spending and fixed investment, respectively. As such, Met the why particular analysts expect the economy to bounce back somewhat this year. Key downside risks remain, however. Of particular concern, a credit-rating downgrade by Moody’s would trigger large-scale capital outflows and undermine any short-term recovery. Moreover, a Chinese slowdown would bruise economic activity. Medium-term growth prospects are being held back by concerns over fiscal slippage and the inadequate pace of structural reforms. Analysts expect growth of 1.6% in 2019, unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 1.9% in 2020.

South Africa Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)53.153.954.855.656.5
GDP per capita (USD)6,7156,6356,0975,3416,281
GDP (USD bn)357358334297355
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)2.51.81.30.61.3
Consumption (annual variation in %)2.00.81.80.72.2
Investment (annual variation in %)7.20.73.4-4.10.4
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)1.30.10.00.7-0.5
Unemployment Rate24.725.125.426.727.5
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-4.1-3.7-3.6-3.3-3.5
Public Debt (% of GDP)44.147.049.351.653.0
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)5.45.35.36.74.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)5.86.14.66.35.3
Policy Interest Rate (%)5.005.756.257.006.75
Exchange Rate (vs USD)11.4711.5715.5013.6812.38
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)9.6511.8512.7814.7013.31
Current Account (% of GDP)-5.8-5.1-4.6-2.8-2.5
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-20.6-18.1-15.3-8.3-8.7
Trade Balance (USD billion)-7.2-6.9-5.01.26.0
Exports (USD billion)93.394.984.776.290.5
Imports (USD billion)11111289.675.184.5
Exports (annual variation in %)-6.61.7-11.8-11.018.7
Imports (annual variation in %)-3.81.3-12.0-16.312.5
International Reserves (USD)44.844.341.842.745.3
External Debt (% of GDP)38.311.637.248.148.8

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South Africa Facts

ValueChangeDate
Bond Yield8.740.29 %Jan 30
Exchange Rate13.58-0.21 %Jan 30
Stock Market0.6-0.44 %Jan 30

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