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GDP shrinks by 3,2% in 1st Quarter of 2019 - StatsSA

Mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors all recorded massive drops

Key findings: P0441 - Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 1st Quarter 2019

Gross domestic product (measured by production)

South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate decreased by 3,2% in the first quarter of 2019.

The manufacturing industry decreased by 8,8% in the first quarter. The divisions that made the largest contributions to the decrease were petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products; motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment; and wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing.

The mining and quarrying industry decreased by 10,8% in the first quarter. This was largely the result of low production in mining of coal, mining of gold, mining of iron ore, mining of chrome ore and 'other' mining and quarrying (including diamonds).

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry decreased by 13,2% in first quarter. The decrease was mainly because of a drop in the production of field crops and horticultural products.

The trades, catering and accommodation industry decreased by 3,6%. Decreased economic activity was reported in wholesale trade, retail trade and motor trade.

The transport, storage and communication industry decreased by 4,4%, as a result of decreases in both passenger and freight land transport.

Finance, real estate and business services increased by 1,1% in the first quarter. Increased economic activity was reported for financial intermediation, real estate activities and business services.

General government services increased by 1,2%, mainly attributed to an increase in employment.

Expenditure on GDP

Expenditure on real gross domestic product decreased by 3,4% in the first quarter of 2019

Household final consumption expenditure decreased by 0,8% in the first quarter, contributing -0,5 of a percentage point to total growth. The main contributors to growth in HFCE were clothing and footwear (-12,7% and contributing -0,8 of a percentage point), transport (-3,1% and contributing -0,5 of a percentage point), recreation and culture (-4,0% and contributing -0,2 of a percentage point).

Final consumption expenditure by general government increased by 1,3%. An increase in employment and spending on goods and services was reported in the first quarter.

Gross fixed capital formation decreased by 4,4%, its fifth consecutive decline. The main contributors to the decline were transport equipment, non-residential buildings and residential buildings.

There was a R11,6 billion drawdown of inventories in the first quarter of 2019. Large decreases were reported in mining and quarrying and transport, storage and communication.

Net exports contributed negatively to growth in expenditure on GDP in the first quarter. Exports of goods and services were down 26,4%, largely attributable to decreased trade in precious metals, base metals and vehicles and transport equipment.

Imports of goods and services decreased by 4,8%, driven largely by a decrease in chemical products, mineral products and vegetable products.

The GDP estimates are preliminary, and may routinely be revised on the basis of additional evidence that has become available by the time the subsequent quarter's estimates are released.

Issued by StatsSA, 4 June 2019