South Africa's economic growth slows in first quarter
Seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product (GDP) rose by an annualised rate of 2.7% during the quarter. This is a slower rate than the 3.2% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Manufacturing grew by 7.7% during the quarter, contributing over a third of the increase in GDP.
Finance, real estate and business services also performed well, rising by 4.1%. Construction rose by 3.8%.
Wholesale, retail, motor trade and accommodation grew three percent. General government services grew by 2.3%. Transport, storage and communication rose by 2.5%.
But the quarter also saw a strong contraction in the mining sector. It contracted by 16.8 % . Electricity supply tightened during the quarter, resulting in the fall in production.
“Both production and consumption of electricity were low due to plant maintenance,” Stats SA spokesperson Kedibone Mabaso said.
“The Koeberg nuclear plant shut down for refuelling in early March, to re-open in June.”
The trade sector was boosted by low interest rates, access to credit, and motor vehicle sales, she said.
Nominal GDP was estimated at R765-billion for the first quarter of 2012. This is R5-billion less than in the fourth quarter of 2011. The electricity, gas and water industry sectors had made no contribution to GDP for four consecutive quarters.
The largest industry in the first quarter was finance, real estate and business services. A full 21.6% of the economy was made up of these sectors.
General government services accounted for 16.3% of the economy.
Wholesale, retail, motor trade, catering and accommodation made up 14.6% of the economy. - Sapa