The South African economy expanded an annualized 1.3 percent on quarter in the first three months of 2015, down from 4.1 percent in the previous quarter and below market expectations, due to a slump in agriculture and manufacturing.
The agriculture sector shrank 16.6 percent, the first fall in nearly two years while manufacturing contracted 2.4 percent due to power constraints. Production was lower for petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products; radio, television and communication apparatus and professional equipment; and wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing.
In contrast, the mining sector recorded the highest increase (10.2 percent), boosted by coal and coal metal ores including platinum. Finance, real estate and business services went up 3.8 percent due to increased activities in banking from financial intermediation services and equity, bond and other financial markets in auxiliary activities. The wholesale, retail and motor trade, catering and accommodation industry rebounded from last quarter’s 0.3 percent contraction and grew 1.2 percent in the first three months of 2015.
Year-on-year, the economy expanded 2.1 percent, up from 1.3 percent in the previous period and better than market expectations.