NEWS
06/03/2018 15:04 SAST | Updated 06/03/2018 15:05 SAST

SA Showing Better-Than-Expected Growth

"In a time when good news seems hard to come by, the latest gross domestic product (GDP) results provide some cautious cheer."

Sean_Kuma via Getty Images

According to FIn24, South Africa's economy grew by 1.3 percent in 2017, which exceeded the National Treasury's expectation of 1 percent growth.

"In a time when good news seems hard to come by, the latest gross domestic product (GDP) results provide some cautious cheer," Stats SA said in a statement on Tuesday.

"After a wobbly start to 2017, which saw economic activity contract in the first quarter, the economy saw sustained growth for the remainder of the year. The fourth quarter experienced the highest growth rate of 2017, with the economy expanding by 3.1 percent quarter-on-quarter – seasonally adjusted and annualised."

Getty Images/iStockphoto

It was the agriculture industry that partly contributed to the economic activity after bouncing back from drought. Maize crops and recovery in other agricultural commodities saw agriculture production rise by 17.7 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.

Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene told Fedusa that government would hold talks with stakeholders in a bid to soften the impact of the VAT increase on the poor, which comes into effect on April 1. The funds from the one percentage-point VAT increase will go toward plugging a revenue shortfall.

VAT

Nene also said he would move swiftly to resolve "governance and operational failures" at state-owned enterprises, particularly in Eskom.

The economy is forecast to expand 1.5 percent this year, compared to the previous projection of 1.1 percent and an estimated 1 percent in 2017, National Treasury said in its 2018 budget review on February 21. Growth will probably accelerate to 2.1 percent in 2020, as measures aimed at creating policy certainty and attracting investment pay off, it said.