South Africa Economic Forecast

South Africa Economic Outlook

December 16, 2021

The economy fell back into contraction in quarter-on-quarter terms in the third quarter, amid social unrest and violent protests that broke out in mid-July. Consumer spending declined in the quarter, as a consequence of the unemployment rate climbing to a new record high. Moreover, the external sector contributed negatively to the overall reading. Turning to the final quarter of the year, activity should have picked up from Q3’s setback: The PMI averaged higher in October–November than in the prior quarter and business sentiment improved in the same two months, boding well for investment ahead. Additionally, both goods exports and imports continued to expand robustly in October. Meanwhile, the country’s discovery of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 in late November will weigh on the tourism industry ahead, although it has helped encourage citizens to get vaccinated.

South Africa Economic Growth

Economic growth will moderate in 2022 following this year’s projected strong bounce-back. That said, this will be partly due to a less favorable base of comparison, and healthier private consumption and export growth should support activity. The high unemployment rate and increasing public debt stocks pose key downside risks to the outlook. FocusEconomics panelists see the economy expanding 2.1% in 2022, which is down 0.2 percentage points from last month’s projection, and 2.0% in 2023.

South Africa Economy Data

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Population (million)55.456.357.157.958.8
GDP per capita (USD)6,0225,2916,2206,1376,121
GDP (USD bn)317297350368360
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)
Consumption (annual variation in %)
Investment (annual variation in %)2.5-3.51.0-1.4-0.9
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)0.00.7-0.5-  -  
Unemployment Rate25.426.727.527.128.7
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-3.7-3.6-4.1-4.0-6.3
Public Debt (% of GDP)49.351.553.056.762.2
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)
Policy Interest Rate (%)
Exchange Rate (vs USD)15.5013.6812.3814.3913.98
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)12.7814.7013.3113.2514.45
Current Account (% of GDP)-4.6-2.9-2.5-3.5-3.0
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-14.6-8.5-8.9-13.1-10.6
Trade Balance (USD billion)-
Exports (USD billion)80.676.487.894.190.2
Imports (USD billion)84.374.382.992.387.5
Exports (annual variation in %)-13.9-
Imports (annual variation in %)-14.6-11.911.711.3-5.2
International Reserves (USD)41.842.745.346.448.9
External Debt (% of GDP)

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South Africa Facts

Value Change Date
Bond Yield8.260.29 %Dec 31
Exchange Rate13.98-0.21 %Dec 31
Stock Market0.1-0.44 %Jan 06

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