PRETORIA – South Africa’s economy contracted more than expected in the first quarter of the year, data from the statistics agency showed on, after the agriculture and mining sectors fell sharply while factory output rose only slightly.
The rand was volatile, first extending losses against the dollar after the gross domestic data was released at 0930 GMT but later firmed after Fitch retained South Africa’s investment grade BBB- rating and kept the outlook stable.
Output in Africa’s most industrialised economy fell by 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2016 after rising by a revised 0.4 percent in the three months to December, Statistics South Africa said.
GDP also shrank by 0.2 percent on an unadjusted year-on-year basis in the first quarter, compared with 0.6 percent growth in the previous three months, the agency said.
Mining output tumbled 18.1 percent during the first quarter, while agriculture fell 6.5 percent.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a quarter-on-quarter GDP contraction of 0.1 percent while the economy was seen expanding 0.1 percent year-on-year. (Reuters)