SA GDP Growing, Still Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Levels

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Recent figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) have revealed that South Africa’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 1,2% in the fourth quarter of 2021. 


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Recent figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) have revealed that South Africa’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 1,2% in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

 

The fourth-quarter growth also meant that the country's GDP grew by 4.9% for 2021. It also means that South Africa’s real GDP continues to lag pre-pandemic levels too, with economic activity on par with the third quarter of 2017. 

 

StatsSA explained, “The fourth quarter was upbeat, with personal services, trade, manufacturing and agriculture the key drivers of growth. An increase in demand for goods and services drove up the expenditure side of the economy, with exports and household expenditure the most significant contributors to growth”.

 

Investec Group Economist, Annabel Bishop says that the data released by StatsSA shows some improvement and she is expecting to see more improvement as time progresses. 

 

Bishop attributes the growth to the lifting of several Covid-19 restrictions that came with the lockdown. 

 

She added, “The good news is that we're not expecting to see any lockdown restrictions this year which should impede economic growth but what we are waiting for, is government to obviously improve its regulatory environment and ease of doing business that will be supportive of better economic growth”. 

 

Bishop has however acknowledged that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine could have an impact on South Africa’s economy and the lives of people living in the country. 

 

She explained that the price of Brent Crude Oil has increased to around $130 per barrel. She believes this could result in South Africans with a R2 increase in the price of petrol per litre. However, this could change as March is not over yet. 

 

South Africa’s power utility Eskom also announced Stage 4 loadshedding for this coming week. The power cuts will leave citizens without power for up to 6 hours per day. Bishop says that power supply disruptions also cut economic growth. 

 

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