Earlier this week the country received somewhat good news from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), as it announced the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2018 increased by 1.4 percent.
For perspective, last year’s third quarter GDP increased by a slightly higher margin of 2.6 percent.
“The positive growth in the fourth quarter follows after the positive growth we had after recession in the first half of the year,” said Stats SA’s deputy director general, Joe de Beer.
According to SA News, de Beer said the main contributing sectors to the GDP where agriculture, transport, manufacturing, finance, personal services and electricity. While the sectors that contributed negatively were mining, trade, construction and government services.
De Beer also added that the manufacturing industry expanded by 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter, with the largest contributors to the increase being petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products, motor vehicles, parts and accessories, and other transport products.
Other sectors of growth during Q4 saw the finance, real estate and business services increase by 2.7 percent, with the improved economic activity being reported for financial intermediation, insurance, auxiliary activities and real estate.
The transport, storage and communication industries also saw growth, increasing by 7.7 percent, while trade, catering and accommodation industry decreased by 0.7 percent.
“Mining decreased by 3.8 percent and contributed by 0.3 percent point to the GDP growth, with construction decreasing by 0.7 percent and made 0 percent to the GDP. on the upside the transport sector made a positive contribution of 0.7 percent, followed by manufacturing which contributed 0.6 percent with the agriculture sector contributing 0.2 percent to the overall growth.” added de Beer.
While the fourth quarter growth provides reason for optimism, said increases are smaller than that of the previous quarter, which should cause reason for concern. As such it will be interesting to see whether the same trend continues in the first quarter of 2019.