Wednesday December 13 2017
South Africa Inflation Rate Slows to 4.6% in November
Statistics South Africa | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in South Africa increased 4.6 percent year-on-year in November of 2017, easing from a 4.8 percent rise in the previous month and missing market expectations of 4.7 percent. Prices rose at a slower pace for food and non-alcoholic beverages and transport.

Year-on-year, prices rose at a softer pace for: food and non-alcoholic beverages (5.2 percent compared to 5.3 percent in October), particularly processed food (3.2 percent compared to 3.7 percent) and meat (14.9 percent compared to 15.5 pecent); transport (4.4 percent compared to 5.4 percent), mainly purchase of vehicles (2.6 percent compared to 2.8 percent) and fuel (7.9 percent compared to 10.8 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (5.0 percent compared to 5.1 percent); clothing and footwear (1.8 percent compared to 1.9 percent); and health (6.4 percent compared to 6.6 percent).

On the other hand, inflation was steady for housing and utilities (at 5.1 percent); miscellaneous goods and services (at 7.2 percent); recreation and culture (at 1.5 percent) and education (at 7.0 percent); while prices went up at a faster pace for household contents and equipment (1.9 percent compared to 1.8 percent) and restaurants and hotels (3.3 percent compared to 3.2 percent).

Annual core inflation rate, which excludes cost of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy, fell to 4.4 percent from 4.5 percent. It was the lowest rate since May of 2012.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.1 percent, following a 0.3 percent rise in September and missing market expectations of 0.2 percent.




Tuesday December 05 2017
South Africa GDP Growth Slows to 2.0% in Q3
Statistics South Africa | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The South African economy expanded an annualized 2.0 percent on quarter in the three months to September of 2017, easing from a 2.8 percent expansion in the previous quarter and beating market expectations of a 1.5 percent rise. The largest upward contribution in the GDP was the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, mainly due to higher production of field crops and horticultural products.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry jumped 44.2 percent, higher than a 38.7 percent increase in Q2. Additional upward contributions came from mining and quarrying (6.6 percent compared to 8.2 percent in Q2), namely gold and platinum group metals; manufacturing (4.3 percent compared to 1.5 percent in Q2), mainly petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic, iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal and machinery, motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment; finance, real estate and business services (1.2 percent compared to 2.5 percent in Q2), due to financial intermediation, insurance and auxiliary activities; transport, storage and communication (0.6 percent compared to 2.2 percent in Q2); and personal services (0.9 percent compared to 1.3 percent).

In contrast, electricity, gas and water decreased by 5.5 percent (8.8 percent rise in Q2); trade, catering and accommodation (-0.4 percent compared to 0.6 percent in Q2); general government services (-0.7 percent compared to -1.1 percent), partly due to declining levels of employment and construction (-1.1 percent compared to -0.3 percent), namely residential and non-residential buildings and construction works. 

Year-on-year, the economy advanced 0.8 percent, below an upwardly revised 1.3 percent in the previous quarter and in line with market expectations.




Tuesday December 05 2017
South Africa GDP Annual Growth Rate Down to 0.8% in Q3
Statistics South Africa | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The South African economy advanced 0.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017, below an upwardly revised 1.3 percent expansion in the previous period which was the highest growth rate in two years. Still, figures matched market expectations. Mining rose faster while agriculture eased and manufacturing shrank for the fourth quarter.

Slower growth rates were seen for agriculture (19.6percent compared to 31.8 percent in Q2); construction (0.4 percent compared to 0.7 percent); transport, storage and communication (0.9 percent compared to 1.2 percent) and finance, real estate and business services (1 percent compared to 1.1 percent). Also, contractions were seen for manufacturing (-0.7 percent compared to -2 percent); elecricity, gas and water (-0.8 percent compared to 0.5 percent); trade, catering and accommodation (-0.9 percent compared to -1.2 percent) and government services (-0.4 percent compared to 0 percent).

On the other hand, higher growth rates were recorded for mining (3.2 percent compared to 3.1 percent in Q2) and personal services (1.5 percent compared to 1.1 percent).

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the economy expanded an annualized 2 percent, below an upwardly revised 2.8 percent growth in the previous quarter but beating market expctations of 1.5 percent. The largest contributor to growth was the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry which increased by 44.2 percent, mainly due to higher production of field crops and horticultural products.

Considering the first nine months of the year, the economy advanced 1 percent. 




Thursday November 30 2017
South Africa Trade Surplus Widens Slightly in October
South African Revenue | ServiceStefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa trade surplus increased to ZAR 4.56 billion in October of 2017 from an upwardly revised ZAR 4.48 billion surplus in September, and above market expectations of a ZAR 1.00 billion deficit. Exports increased 2.2 percent and imports went up 2.3 percent. Considering the January to October period, exports increased 6.6 percent and imports decreased 0.2 percent, shifting the country's trade balance into a ZAR 51.62 billion surplus from a ZAR 9.9 billion gap in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the previous month, exports increased to ZAR 104.5 billion, led by mineral products (12 percent); base metals (13 percent); chemical products (20 percent), machinery and electronics (7 percent); prepared foodstuff (8 percent); textiles (16 percent), while vehicles and transport equipment (-8 percent) and vegetable goods (-44 percent) fell. Major destinations for sales were China (11.0 percent); the US (7.3 percent); India (5.9 percent); Germany (5.7 percent); and Namibia (4.6 percent).

Imports advanced to ZAR 99.9 billion, due to higher purchases of machinery and electronics (14 percent); wood pulp and paper (56 percent); precious metals and stones (69 percent), chemicals (7 percent) and original equipment components (7 percent). Imports came mostly from China (20.2 percent of total imports); Germany (11.2 percent); the US (5.6 percent); India (4.7 percent) and Saudi Arabia (4.6 percent).

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade deficit of ZAR 4.2 billion in October compared to a ZAR 3.8 billion gap in September.




Thursday November 23 2017
South Africa Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged
SARB | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The South African Reserve Bank left its benchmark repo rate steady at 6.75 percent on November 23rd 2017, in line with market expectations. Policymakers said upside risks to the inflation outlook have increased mainly due to higher oil prices and a weaker rand while the growth outlook remains subdued.

Excerpts from the statement by Governor Lesetja Kganyago:

The inflation forecast generated by the Bank’s Quarterly Projection Model (QPM) shows a deterioration since September. The average forecast for 2017 is unchanged at 5.3%, but has been revised upward for 2018 and 2019 to 5.2% and 5.5%, from 5.1% and 5.4% previously. The lower turning point, which is expected in the first quarter of 2018, increased from 4.5% to 4.7%.

The main upside drivers of these changes are a weaker exchange rate path in 2018 in particular, a higher international oil price, and higher average wage growth. These pressures are offset to some extent by a more favourable food price forecast in 2018 in particular.

Since the previous meeting of the MPC the rand has depreciated by 3.6% against the US dollar, by 3.0% against the euro, and by 3.3% on a trade-weighted basis. The rand recorded a weak point of around R14.55 against the US dollar in midNovember, but has recovered somewhat since then. Factors that impacted on the rand during the period included the ongoing uncertainty with regard to the outcome of the ANC electoral conference in December; concerns about a faster pace of monetary tightening in the US; the negative reaction to the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS); and speculation regarding the introduction of free higher education in South Africa.

The domestic economic growth outlook remains subdued but positive. Both consumer and business confidence remain low and are also likely to be affected by political developments in December. The forecast for GDP growth generated by the QPM has been revised up marginally to 0.7% for 2017, but revised down to 1.2% and 1.5% for 2018 and 2019, from 1.3% and 1.7% previously. The output gap is expected to remain negative over the forecast period. The SARB’s composite leading business cycle indicator increased further in September, consistent with a mild recovery.

The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) published in October revealed a rapidly deteriorating fiscal position. Significant revisions were made to the expected deficits and government debt-to-GDP ratio over the medium term. This deterioration was mainly a result of significantly lower tax revenues, although there was also a provision for a moderate breach of the expenditure ceiling. The less favourable path of fiscal consolidation could potentially reduce the scope for further monetary policy accommodation.

There are very few signs of domestic demand pressures, as reflected in core inflation outcomes. Although retail sales have surprised on the upside, household consumption expenditure is expected to remain relatively subdued. The economic growth outlook remains constrained, as weak confidence continues to weigh on investment expenditure. Business and consumer confidence are likely to be sensitive to the political outcomes in December. The MPC assesses the risks to the growth outlook to be on the downside.

In light of the high degree of uncertainty prevailing in the economy and the balance of risks, the MPC has decided that it would be prudent to maintain the current stance of monetary policy at this stage. Accordingly, the repurchase rate remains unchanged at 6.75% per annum.




Wednesday November 22 2017
South Africa Inflation Rate Slows to 4.8% in October
Statistics South Africa | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa's consumer prices rose 4.8 percent year-on-year in October of 2017, easing from a 5.1 percent increase in September and matching market consensus. Prices slowed mostly for transport, food and miscellaneous goods and services.

Year-on-year, prices increased less for: transport (5.4 percent vs 5.6 percent in September); due to lower cost of fuel (10.8 percent vs 12.2 percent) and private transport operation (9.1 percent vs 10.2 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (5.3 percent vs 5.5 percent), mainly processed food (3.7 percent vs 4.3 percent); fish (3.1 percent vs 4.4 percent); milk, eggs and cheese (2.7 percent vs 2.8 percent); and miscellaneous goods and services (7.2 percent vs 7.6 percent). Also, cost eased for household contents and equipment (1.8 percent vs 2.1 percent); recreation and culture (1.5 percent vs 2.2 percent); clothing and footwear (1.9 percent vs 2.3 percent); restaurants and hotels (3.2 percent vs 3.4 percent) and health (6.6 percent vs 7.2 percent). In addition, cost fell more for communication (-1.5 percent vs -1.4 percent).

On the other hand, prices advanced faster for housing and utilities (5.1 percent vs 4.9 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (5.1 percent vs 4.7 percent).

Annual core inflation rate, which excludes cost of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy fell to 4.5 percent from 4.6 percent, the lowest rate since July 2012.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.3 percent, following a 0.5 percent rise in September and in line with market expectations.


Tuesday October 31 2017
South Africa Trade Surplus Well Below Expectations
South African Revenue Service | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa trade surplus decreased to ZAR 4.00 billion in September of 2017 from an upwardly revised 5.98 billion surplus in August, and below market expectations of a ZAR 7.0 billion surplus. Exports decreased 1.6 percent after an 11 percent jump in August while imports advanced at 0.4 percent. Considering the January to September period, exports increased 5.4 percent and imports decreased 1.2 percent, shifting the country's trade balance into a ZAR 47.1 billion surplus from a ZAR 6.7 billion gap in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the previous month, exports decreased to ZAR 101.8 billion from ZAR 103.4 billion, led by a fall in shipments of base metals (-12 percent); vegetable products (-16 percent); chemical products (-15 percent) and precious metals and stones (-6 percent), while vehicles and transport equipment (14 percent) and mineral products (7 percent) rose. Major destinations for sales were China (9.9 percent); the US (8.2 percent); Germany (6.1 percent); India (6 percent) and Japan (4.9 percent).

Imports advanced to ZAR 97.8 billion from ZAR 97.4 billion, due to higher purchases of vegetable products (107 percent); mineral products (5 percent); chemical products (5 percent); prepared  foodstuffs (11 percent) and animals and vegetable fats (47 percent). Imports came mostly from China (17.9 percent of total imports); Germany (11.8 percent); the US (6.7 percent); Saudi Arabia (4.7 percent) and India (4.2 percent).

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade deficit of ZAR 4.3 billion in September compared to a ZAR 1.9 billion gap in August.


Tuesday October 31 2017
South Africa Jobless Rate Unchanged at 2004 High of 27.7%
Statistics South Africa | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa's unemployment rate came in at 27.7 percent in the third quarter of 2017, the same as in the previous two quarters and remaining the highest rate in 13 years. The number of unemployed rose by 33 thousand to 6.21 million and the number of employed advanced by 92 thousand to 16.19 million.

The number of unemployed persons increased by 33 thousand to 6.21 million from 6.17 million in the second quarter. Employment rose by 92 thousand to 16.19 million from 16.10 million in the previous period. Job losses occurred in the informal sector (-71 thousand) and in agriculture (-25 thousand), but gains were recorded in the formal sector (187 thousand)

The labour force advanced by 125 thousand to 22.40 million from 22.28 million in Q2; and those detached from it rose by 31 thousand to 14.97 million from 14.94 million.

The expanded definition of unemployment, including people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.8 percent in the third quarter from 36.6 percent in the previous period.

A year earlier, the jobless rate was lower at 27.1 percent. 




Wednesday October 18 2017
South Africa September Inflation Rate Stronger than Expected
Statistics South Africa | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa's consumer price inflation rose to 5.1 percent year-on-year in September 2017 from 4.8 percent in the previous month. The reading came in above market expectations of 4.9 percent, mainly boosted by higher prices of housing, transport and miscellaneous goods and services.

Year-on-year, prices rose faster for: Housing and utilities (4.9 percent from 4.5 percent in August), mainly boosted by cost of actual rentals for housing (5.7 percent from 5 percent) and that of owners equivalent rent (5.4 percent from 4.9 percent); transport (5.6 percent from 3.9 percent), due to higher cost of fuel (12.2 percent compared to 5.7 percent) and private transport operation (10.2 percent from 5.2 percent); miscellaneous goods and services (7.6 percent from 7.5 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (4.7 percent from 4.3 percent); household contents and equipment (2.1 percent from 2 percent); and health (7.2 percent from 7 percent). Meanwhile, inflation eased for: Food and non-alcoholic beverages (5.5 percent from 5.7 percent in August); clothing and footwear (2.3 percent from 2.8 percent); recreation and culture (2.2 percent from 2.4 percent); and restaurants and hotels (3.4 percent from 4.2 percent). Prices of communication continued to fall (-1.4 percent from -1.3 percent in August).

Annual core inflation rate, which excludes cost of food, non-alcoholic beverages, fuel and energy stood at 4.6 percent, unchanged from the previous month's five-year low and above market consensus of 4.5 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.5 percent, beating expectations of 0.3 percent. 


Friday September 29 2017
South Africa Trade Surplus Narrows in August
South African Revenue Service |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa trade surplus decreased to ZAR 5.94 billion in August of 2017 from an upwardly revised 9.33 billion surplus in July, but beating market expectations of a ZAR 3.2 billion surplus. Exports increased 11 percent while imports advanced at a faster 16.3 percent. Considering the January to August period, exports increased 5.8 percent and imports decreased 2.1 percent, shifting the country's trade balance into a ZAR 43.5 billion surplus from a ZAR 13.7 billion gap in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the previous month, exports increased to ZAR 103.4 billion from ZAR 93.1 billion, led by higher shipments of mineral products (21 percent); precious metals and stones (20 percent); base metals (12 percent); machinery and electronics (12 percent) while those of vehicles and transport equipment fell 17 percent. Major destinations for sales were China (9.9 percent); the US (8.1 percent); Germany (6.8 percent); Japan (4.7 percent) and Botswana (4.6 percent).

Imports advanced to ZAR 97.4 billion from ZAR 83.8 billion, due to higher purchases of mineral products (65 percent); prepared foodstuffs (36 percent); textiles (27 percent); original equipment components (29 percent) and machinery and electronics (11 percent). Imports came mostly from China (21.3 percent of total imports); Germany (14.1 percent); the US (7.8 percent); India (5.6 percent) and Saudi Arabia (5.2 percent).

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade deficit of ZAR 1.9 billion in August compared to a ZAR 2.6 billion surplus in July.