By Siphelele Dludla for IOL
The South African economy grew by 1.1% in the first quarter of 2021, translating into an annualised growth rate of 4.6 percent, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Tuesday.
However, the first quarter growth was lower than the revised 1.4 percent, or an annualised 5.8 percent, rise in real gross domestic product recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Stats SA said economic activity has increased in line with easing lockdown restrictions in the period, with real GDP rising to R761 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
Despite this being the third-consecutive quarter of positive growth, Stats SA said the economy was 2.7 percent smaller than it was in the first quarter of 2020.
“This level is roughly comparable to what the economy was producing in the first quarter of 2016, and is 2.7 percent down from the R782 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2020.”
StatsSA said eight of the 10 industries recorded positive gains in the first quarter of 2021, with finance, mining and trade making the most significant contributions.
The finance, mining and trade industries were the main drivers of output on the production side of the economy, while household spending and changes in inventories helped spur growth on the expenditure side.
The mining industry had a positive quarter too with annualised growth of 18.1 percent, boosted by the production of platinum group metals, iron ore, gold and chromium.
Manufacturing output increased at an annualised rate of 1.6 percent, mostly driven by strong growth in the production of motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment.
Stats SA said load shedding and a decline in the supply of water contributed to the contraction in the electricity, gas and water supply industry.
The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry also performed poorly in the first quarter in comparison with the previous quarter, dragged lower by weaker production figures for field crops and animal products.