South Africa’s economy contracts 51% in 2nd quarter

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JOHANNESBURG

South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 51.0% in the second quarter of 2020, the country’s statistics body announced on Tuesday.

Statistics South Africa attributed the decline in GDP to the impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions which were imposed from late March 2020 until June.

“Notably, this was the fourth consecutive decline in quarterly GDP since the second quarter of 2019,” it said.

The manufacturing industry contracted by 74.9% in the second quarter, the statistics agency said, adding: “All ten manufacturing divisions reported negative growth rates in the second quarter.”

It added that the trade, catering and accommodation industries decreased by 67.6% due to decreased economic activity reported in wholesale trade, retail trade, motor trade, catering and accommodation.

Statistics South Africa said most industries were hit hard as only selected essential goods were allowed to be sold during the early stages of the lockdown.

Meanwhile, the mining and quarrying industry decreased by 73.1% contributing to -6.0 percentage points to GDP growth.

“Owing to global lockdown restrictions, demand for mineral products fell, contributing to decreased production in platinum group metals (PGMs), gold, iron ore, chromium ore and coal,” the statistics body said.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry was the only positive contributor to GDP growth, with an increase of 15.1% and a contribution of 0.3 of a percentage point to GDP growth. The increase was mainly due to increased production of field crops and horticultural and animal products.

The finance, real estate and business services industry decreased by 28.9% and contributed -5.4 of a percentage point to GDP growth, as transport, storage and communication industry decreased by 67.9%.

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