South Africa Economic Forecast

South Africa Economic Outlook

January 28, 2020

The economy seemingly sank into technical recession in the fourth quarter of last year. Industrial production slumped in October–November, weighed on by falls in both mining and manufacturing output, while December’s unprecedented rolling blackouts by Eskom and over one-year low PMI hint that industrial production plunged further at the end of Q4. In addition, on the demand-side, household spending likely remained subdued amid lingering pessimism among consumers reflected in plummeting merchandise imports in October–November. That said, a positive trade balance in the same period suggests that the external sector buffered the downturn somewhat. Meanwhile, the economy’s woes likely persisted at this year’s outset as large companies announced thousands of job cuts in January; the country’s unemployment rate already stands at nearly a third of the labor force.

South Africa Economic Growth

The economy should recover somewhat this year, yet growth is likely to remain subdued. More upbeat household spending and an expected rebound in capital investment, thanks to cheaper credit conditions, should provide a minor boost. However, fiscal challanges remain high and could worsen if Eskom’s financial woes deepen. FocusEconomics analysts see growth at 1.0% in 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 1.4% in 2021.

South Africa Economy Data

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Population (million)53.954.855.656.557.7
GDP per capita (USD)6,6356,0945,3516,2846,160
GDP (USD bn)358334298355356
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)
Consumption (annual variation in %)
Investment (annual variation in %)0.72.5-3.51.0-1.4
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)  
Unemployment Rate25.125.426.727.527.1
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-4.3-4.1-3.8-4.4-4.2
Public Debt (% of GDP)47.049.351.553.056.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)
Policy Interest Rate (%)5.756.257.006.756.75
Exchange Rate (vs USD)11.5715.5013.6812.3814.39
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)10.8512.7814.7013.3113.25
Current Account (% of GDP)-5.1-4.6-2.9-2.5-3.5
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-18.1-15.4-8.6-8.9-12.4
Trade Balance (USD billion)-6.9-
Exports (USD billion)94.984.776.290.390.9
Imports (USD billion)10289.675.184.589.9
Exports (annual variation in %)1.7-10.8-
Imports (annual variation in %)1.3-12.0-16.312.66.4
International Reserves (USD)44.341.842.745.346.4
External Debt (% of GDP)40.637.248.048.848.5

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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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