Mining sector strikes hit SA economic growth

Strikes in the mining sector during the third quarter affected the GDP growth. (Gallo)

Strikes in the mining sector during the third quarter affected the GDP growth. (Gallo)

The mining sector's wildcat strikes has left a deeper dent in the SA economy than expected with only a 1.2% real gross domestic product increase.

This was on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis from the previous quarter, worse than the 1.5% which was expected on average in the markets.

Economic activity over other sectors was also slow in the quarter, caused by the transport strike and petrol shortages. The next quarter is expected to show some improvement.

However, Fin24 reported that owing to this quarter’s slow growth, the growth for the full year is expected to be lower than the expected 2.5%, according to Investec Group economist Annabel Bishop.

Currently, the overall real GDP is forecast to grow by 2.7% in 2013.

The manufacturing sector was also weighed down by weaker global demands with an upside for retailers because of softer domestic spending. In the first quarter, the sector grew by 7.7%, which contributed to over a third of the increase in GDP.

A statement from the Nedbank Economic Unit said: "Today's GDP figures reflect two realities: first that economic growth remains too subdued, second that the sources of momentum are too narrow and increasingly unsustainable."

"Production and exports are faltering, while spending and imports continue to increase. These imbalances are visible in a bulging trade deficit and a widening current account deficit, which is starting to weigh on the rand. If the current pressure on the rand is sustained, the outcome will be higher inflation in 2013 and beyond."

The agricultural sector grew strongly but will also see the effects of the strikes in the fourth quarter.

GDP growth for the first quarter was 2.7% and a 3.4% growth in the second quarter.

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