As South Africa’s GDP contracted yet again in the third quarter of the year, warnings have been sounded that another potential recession and job losses were looming.
According to Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General at Statistics South Africa, the country’s GDP decreased 0,6% in the third quarter.
The largest negative contributors were mining, which contracted over 6%, and manufacturing with a decline of almost 4%.
The agriculture sector saw its third consecutive quarter of decline. Lower production recorded for field crops such as maize, wheat, sunflower seeds, tobacco, and soya bean were to blame for the 3,6% reduction in output, according to Wandile Sihlobo, head of economics and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz.
He said South Africa’s agricultural economy would likely underperform this coming year because of poor harvests for major summer crops, on the back of drier weather conditions in most parts of the country in the 2018/2019 season.
He added that going into 2020, the GDP was dependent on the weather patterns. “If the drought continues and fewer commodities are being produced, the GDP will contract even more. This will have an impact on the employment in the sector.”
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) said in a statement that it had been consistently warning that unless government adopted and implemented pragmatic economic policies, South Africa would suffer stagnant growth, stunted development and growing, unsustainable debt.
“Another recession is looming for the country. Very little has happened between the end of September and now to change the trajectory of the economy.”
BUSA warned that in order to avert another recession, government needed to adopt the policies set out in National Treasury’s economic growth strategy to build business and consumer confidence.