South Africa Economic Forecast

South Africa Economic Outlook

November 17, 2020

The economic scenario likely remained challenging in Q3, after the historic plunge in activity in Q2. While the pace of decline moderated from Q2 due to the gradual easing of restrictions, industrial output contracted relatively sharply in the quarter. Meanwhile, business sentiment remained entrenched in negative territory in the same period, likely holding back capital spending. Turning to Q4, however, the manufacturing PMI returned to growth for the first time in 18 months, hitting an over two-and-a-half-year high amid improved demand dynamics. Moreover, despite a stubbornly high number of Covid-19 cases, authorities announced the reopening of borders to all international travelers on 11 November, in a bid to revive the ailing tourism industry. In other news, on 28 October, the government tabled its medium-term budget statement, reaffirming its commitment to fiscal consolidation and debt stabilization.

South Africa Economic Growth

After this year’s projected contraction at the hands of Covid-19, the economy is seen rebounding in 2021 as domestic and foreign demand revive. That said, high unemployment and persistent electricity shortages are likely to weigh on growth, while frail fiscal metrics and a ballooning public debt stock pose additional risks. FocusEconomics panelists see the economy expanding 3.6% in 2021, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.5% in 2022.

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 %)1.20.41.40.80.2
Consumption (annual variation in %)1.90.62.11.81.1
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)5.36.74.74.54.0
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)4.66.35.34.64.1
Policy Interest Rate (%)6.257.006.756.756.50
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)-3.72.14.91.82.7
Exports (USD billion)80.676.487.894.190.2
Imports (USD billion)84.374.382.992.387.5
Exports (annual variation in %)-13.9-5.215.07.2-4.2
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)37.248.048.848.551.4

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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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