Wednesday February 15 2017
South Africa Inflation Rate Slows To 6.6% in January
Statistic of South Africa | Deborah Neves | deborah.neves@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in South Africa rose 6.6 percent year-on-year in January of 2017, following a 6.8 percent gain in December and below market expectations of a 6.7 percent increase, as prices went up at a slower pace for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Year-on-year, cost increased less for: food and non-alcoholic beverages (11.4 percent from 11.7 percent in December of 2016), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (3.5 percent from 5.5 percent), clothing and footwear (5.1 percent from 5.3 percent), recreation and culture (3.7 percent from 7.6 percent) and restaurants and hotels (6.2 percent from 7.1 percent).

Additional upward pressure came from: housing and utilities (5.6 percent, the same pace as in the previous month), miscellaneous goods and services (7.7 percent from percent 7.6 percent), transport (6.7 percent from 5.7 percent) and household contents and services (4.2 percent from 4 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.6 percent after a 0.4 percent gain in a month earlier. Transport prices rebounded (+1.5 percent from -0.4 percent in December), and cost rose faster for food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.6 percent from 0.8 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (0.8 percent from 0.1 percent).

The core inflation which excludes prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy fell to 5.5 percent from 5.9 percent in the previous month.





Tuesday February 14 2017
South Africa Unemployment Rate Down To 26.5%
Statistics South Africa | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The jobless rate in South Africa fell to 26.5 percent in the last three months of 2016 after reaching a 12-1/2-year high of 27.1 percent in the previous period. Employment rose while unemployment fell and more people continued to join the labour force, bringing the participation rate up to a new high since 2002.

The number of unemployed persons went down by 92 thousand to 5.781 million. 16.069 million people were employed, 235 thousand more than in the previous quarter. Job gains occurred in community and social services (73 thousand to 3.571 million); transport (46 thousand to 0.961 million); manufacturing (44 thousand to 1.727 million); agriculture (38 thousand to 0.919 million); trade (24 thousand to 3.222 million); private households (17 thousand to 1.299 million); utilities (13 thousand to 0.131 million) and finance and buisness services (6 thousand to 2.329 million). In contrast, job losses were recorded in mining (-17 thousand to 0.421 million) and construction (-9 thousand to 1.483 million). 

More people joined the labour force (143 thousand to 21.849 million), bringing the participation rate up to 59.2 percent from 59.1 percent. 15.055 million were detached from the labour force, 12 thousand more than in the previous quarter.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, declined to 35.6 percent from 36.3 percent.

A year earlier, the jobless rate was lower at 24.5 percent. 




Tuesday January 31 2017
South Africa Trade Surplus Beats Expectations in December
South African Revenue Service | Deborah Neves | deborah.neves@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa posted a trade surplus of ZAR 12.04 billion in December of 2016 compared to an upwardly revised ZAR 1.68 billion deficit in November and well above market forecasts of a ZAR 6 billion surplus. Imports slumped 19.6 percent, mainly due to lower purchases of original equipment components and machinery & electronics. Exports went down at a slower 6.1 percent, due to sales of vehicles & transport equipment and machinery & electronics.

Imports fell to ZAR 81 billion, as purchases went down for: machinery & electronics (-24 percent), equipment components (-53 percent), chemical products (-20 percent), base metals (-29 percent), textiles (-38 percent) and plastic & rubber (-30 percent). Meanwhile, mineral products imports rose 10 percent. Imports came mainly from China (16.9 percent of total imports), Germany (8.3 percent), Saudi Arabia (6.9 percent), the US (6.9 percent) and France (6.6 percent). 

Exports declined to 93 billion mainly driven by lower sales of vehicles & transport equipment (-35 percent), machinery & electronics (-16 percent), precious metals & stones (-6 percent), base metals (-8 percent) and prepare foodstuff (-14 percent). By contrast, sales rose for vegetable products (+34 percent) and mineral products (+15 percent). Major destinations for exports were China (11.5 percent of total exports), Germany (6.1 percent), the US (5.4 percent), Botswana (4.5percent) and Japan (4.5 percent).

Considering full 2016, the trade deficit shrank to ZAR 2.92 billion compared to ZAR 52.18 billion in 2015, as exports went up 5.8 percent and imports grew at a much slower 1 percent.

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade gap of ZAR 3.64 billion in December. From January to December, the trade deficit was ZAR 109.72 billion, compared to a ZAR 157.9 billion gap in 2015.




Tuesday January 24 2017
South Africa Leaves Key Rate At 7%, Lowers Growth Forecasts
South African Reserve Bank | Deborah Neves | deborah.neves@tradingeconomics.com

The South African Reserve Bank left its benchmark repo rate on hold at 7 percent at its January 2017 meeting, as widely expected, saying the near-term outlook for inflation has deteriorated and growth remains weak. Policymakers raised inflation forecasts for 2017 to 6.2 percent from 5.8 percent due to higher international oil, domestic fuel and food prices that more than offset the more favourable exchange rate assumption. The central bank expects growth to average 0.4 percent for 2016 and to be 1.1 percent in 2017 (1.2 percent in the previous estimate).

Excerpts from the statement issued by Lesetja Kganyago:

The inflation forecast of the Bank has deteriorated since the previous meeting of the MPC. Headline inflation is now expected to only return to within the target range during the final quarter of 2017, and to average 6.2 per cent for the year, compared with 5.8 per cent in the previous forecast. The forecast for 2018 is more or less unchanged at an average of 5.5 per cent. The peak of the forecast remains at 6.6 per cent, which was recorded in the final quarter of 2016, and this level is now expected to persist in the first quarter of 2017. This deterioration is mainly due to changed assumptions regarding international oil prices, the domestic fuel prices and the outlook for food prices, which more than offset the more favourable exchange rate assumption. By contrast, the forecast for core inflation is unchanged, averaging 5.5 per cent and 5.2 per cent in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The outlook for emerging markets is also unclear, given conflicting developments. Commodity prices, especially industrial commodities, have risen in recent months, but protectionist threats from the US, if carried through, could undermine world trade and have an adverse effect on emerging markets in particular. These countries are also highly dependent on Chinese growth, which is expected to remain above the 6 per cent level. However, given the credit-driven nature of recent Chinese growth, there are fears of an unsustainable credit bubble which could expose financial sector vulnerabilities, and undermine the growth outlook.

The domestic growth outlook remains weak and more or less unchanged since the previous meeting of the MPC. The Bank expects growth to have averaged 0.4 per cent in 2016, although recent monthly data for the fourth quarter suggest that there may be a downside risk to this forecast. The forecast for 2017 has been revised down marginally to 1.1 per cent (from 1.2 per cent), and remains unchanged at 1.6 per cent for 2018. This improved outlook relative to 2016 is consistent with the recent upward trend in the composite leading indicator of the Bank.

The more favourable rand exchange rate has been an important factor in offsetting some of the negative impacts of these developments. Despite a turbulent second half of 2016, both domestically and globally, the rand has been relatively resilient. Furthermore, the current level of the rand is stronger than that implicit in the forecast, and pass-through to inflation continues to be relatively muted. Nevertheless it remains vulnerable to both domestic and external shocks.




Wednesday January 18 2017
South Africa Inflation Rate at 10-Month High Of 6.8%
Statistic of South Africa | Deborah Neves | deborah.neves@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in South Africa rose 6.8 percent year-on-year in December of 2016, following a 6.6 percent increase in November and above market expectations of 6.5 percent. It was the highest inflation rate since February as cost increased at a faster pace for food and non-alcoholic beverages and housing and utilities.

Year-on-year, prices increased more for food and non-alcoholic beverages (+11.7 percent from +11.6 percent in November), housing and utilities (+5.6 percent from +5.4 percent), miscellaneous goods and services (+7.6 percent from percent +7.5 percent), recreation and culture (+7.6 percent from +6 percent), restaurants and hotels (+7.1 percent from +6.4 percent), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (+5.5 percent from +5 percent) and household contents and services (+4 percent from +3.8 percent). By contrast, prices increased less for transport (+5.7 percent from +6.4 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.4 percent after a 0.3 percent gain in a month earlier. Cost increased for housing and utilities (+1 percent after being flat in November), rose faster for food and non-alcoholic beverages (+0.8 percent from +0.5 percent) while decreased for transport (-0.4 percent from +1.5 percent).

The core inflation which excludes prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy went up to 5.9 percent from 5.7 percent in the previous month.


Thursday December 29 2016
South Africa Trade Deficit Narrows in November
South African Revenue Service | Deborah Neves | deborah.neves@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa posted a trade deficit of ZAR 1.1 billion in November 2016 compared to a downwardly revised ZAR 3.91 billion deficit in October, while missing market expectations of a ZAR -0.75 billion gap. Exports rose 12.8 percent, boosted by higher sales of mineral products and precious metals and stones and imports increased by 9.2 percent, as purchases rose mainly for vehicles and transport equipment and mineral products.

Exports jumped to ZAR 99.6 billion, boosted by higher sales of vegetable products (+20 percent), precious metals and stones (+20 percent), base metals (+11 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (+7 percent) and chemical products (+12 percent). Major destinations for exports were China (11.6 percent of total exports), the US (8.6 percent), Germany (7.8 percent), Namibia (5.7 percent) and Botswana (5.5 percent).

Imports rose to ZAR 100.7 billion, as purchases went up for vehicles and transport equipment (+57 percent), mineral products (+20 percent), machinery and electronics (+7 percent) and prepared foodstuffs (+23 percent). Meanwhile imports fell for equipment components (-25 percent). The main sources of imports to the country were China (19.5 percent of total imports), Germany (11.7 percent), the US (7.2 percent), France (6 percent) and Saudi Arabia (4.9 percent).

Considering the first eleven months of 2016, the trade deficit shrank to ZAR 14.61 billion compared to ZAR 59.28 billion the same period a year earlier, as exports went up 5.8 percent and imports grew at a much slower 1 percent.

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade gap of ZAR 10.71 billion in November. 



Wednesday December 14 2016
South Africa Inflation Rate at 9-Month High Of 6.6%
Statistic of South Africa l Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in South Africa rose 6.6 percent year-on-year in November of 2016, following a 6.4 percent increase in October and in a line with market expectations. It was the highest inflation rate since February as cost of transport increased at a faster pace. Month-on-month, consumer prices went up by 0.3 percent following a 0.5 percent gain in the previous month.

Year-on-year, cost rose for transport (+6.4 percent from +4.3 percent in October) and increased at the same pace as in the preceding month for housing and utilities (+5.4 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (+7.5 percent). Prices went up at a slower pace for: food and non-alcoholic beverages (+11.6 percent from +11.7 percent); alcoholic beverage and tobacco (+5 percent from 5.2 percent); and household contents and services (+3.8 percent from 4.1 percent) and 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.3 percent after a 0.5 percent rise in a month earlier. Cost rose for food and non-alcoholic beverages (+0.5 percent from +0.9 percent) and transport (+1.5 percent from +1.1 percent).

The core inflation which excludes prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy was steady at 5.7 percent


Tuesday December 06 2016
South African GDP Growth Steady at 0.7% YoY in Q3
Statistics South Africa l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The South African economy advanced 0.7 percent year-on-year in the September quarter of 2016, the same from an upwardly revised figure in the second quarter. It was the second straight quarter of growth, as an increase in finance & real estates activities, construction and transport & communication offset a decline in the agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

The finance, real estate and business services recorded the fastest growth (+1.8 percent from +2.2 percent in the prior quarter), followed by general government services (+1.7 percent from +1.7 percent), personal services (+1.4 percent from +1.0 percent); transport, storage and communication (+0.1 percent from +0.1 percent); trade, catering and accommodation (+0.5 percent from +1.8 percent), construction (+1.4 percent from +0.3 percent).  

In contrast, production fell for manufacturing (-0.4 percent from +3.6 percent), agriculture (-3.6 percent from -12 percent) mining (-0.1 percent compared to -3.4 percent) and electricity, gas and water (-1.8 percent compared to -2.6 percent).

On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, the economy expanded 0.2 percent, compared to an upwardly revised 3.5 percent growth in the June quarter and below market estimates of a 0.5 percent expansion. It was the second straight quarter of growth.




Tuesday December 06 2016
South Africa GDP Growth Slows to 0.2% QoQ in Q3
Statistics South Africa l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The South African economy expanded an annualized 0.2 percent on quarter in the three months to September of 2016, compared to an upwardly revised 3.5 percent growth in the June quarter and below market estimates of a 0.5 percent expansion. It was the second straight quarter of growth, mainly supported by mining, general government services and real estate activities while manufacturing shrank.

The largest contributor to GDP growth was mining and quarrying,  growing 5.1 percent and contributing 0.4 percentage point. This was largely the result of increased production in the mining of ‘other’ metal ores, in particular iron ore.

General government services advanced 1.8 percent and contributed 0.3 percentage point to growth.

Growth in finance, real estate and business services went up 1.2 percent and contributed 0.2 percentage point to growth. Activity increased for financial intermediation, auxiliary activities and real estate services.

In contrast, manufacturing industry contracted by 3.2 percent, compared to a 8.1 percent expansion the the June quarter. Notable decreases were reported by the petroleum products, chemicals, rubber and plastic division; the basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery division; and the food, beverages and tobacco division. The output for electricity, water and gas shrank 2.9 percent, compared to a 1.8 percent decline in the June quarter,  largely due to a decline in electricity consumed. Similarly, the amount of water distributed decreased, mainly driven by continued dry conditions and water restrictions in most parts of the country. The agricultural sector shrank 0.3 percent, following a 0.8 percent decline in the previous period. It marks the seventh consecutive quarter of contraction due to severe droughts, mainly due to a decline in horticulture products.

Year-on-year, the economy grew by 0.7 percent, the same from an upwardly revised figure in the second quarter.





Wednesday November 30 2016
South Africa Trade Balance Swings to Deficit in October
South African Revenue Service | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

South Africa posted a trade deficit of ZAR 4.41 billion in October 2016 from an upwardly revised ZAR 6.95 billion surplus in September, but better than market expectations of a ZAR 10.5 billion gap. Exports fell by 11.1 percent, dragged by lower sales of vegetable products and precious metals and stones; while imports increased by 0.4 percent, as purchases rose mainly for mineral products and machinery and electronics.

Exports declined by ZAR 10.97 billion, or 11.1 percent, to ZAR 88.19 billion from ZAR 99.16 billion in September, dragged by lower sales of vegetable products (-48 percent), precious metals and stones (-25 percent), vehicles and transport equipment (-10 percent), chemical products (-7 percent) and mineral products (-2 percent). South African exports major destinations were China (8.9 percent of total exports), the US (7.4 percent), Germany (7.1 percent), Botswana (5.5 percent) and Japan (5.4 percent).

Imports rose by ZAR 0.39 billion, or 0.4 percent, to ZAR 92.60 billion from ZAR 92.21 billion the previous month, as purchases went up for mineral products (+5 percent), machinery and electronics (+5 percent) and chemical products (+4 percent). Meanwhile imports fell for vegetable products (-26 percent) and vehicles and transport equipment (-5 percent). The main sources of imports to the country were China (21 percent of total imports), Germany (11.6 percent), the US (6 percent), India (4.1 percent) and Japan (3.7 percent).

Considering the first ten months of 2016, the trade deficit shrank to ZAR 14.35 billion compared to ZAR 59.50 billion the same period a year earlier, as exports went up 5.6 percent and imports grew at a much slower 0.3 percent.

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade balance deficit of ZAR 13.92 billion in October.