South Africa’s economy expanded by 0.9% q/q on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis in the first quarter of 2013, decelerating from a 2.1% growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, preliminary data from Statistics South Africa showed. This was the slowest quarterly expansion since the country rebounded from a recession in Q3 2009. The main reason for the slowdown was a sharp, 7.9% q/q contraction of the manufacturing sector, while the mining sector saw a healthy rebound, expanding by 14.6% q/q after the widespread strikes at the end of last year. The mining sector growth came on the back of higher production of gold and platinum, the sectors that were most badly hit by last year’s labour unrest, which closed major mines for months. The finance, real estate and business services sector grew 3.3% q/q thanks to increased activities in the equity, bond and other financial markets. The general government services sector rose by 1.9% q/q and the wholesale, retail and motor trade and catering and accommodation industry also grew by 1.9% q/q thanks to higher turnover in the retail and motor trade segments.
On an unadjusted year-on-year basis, economic growth slowed to 1.9% in Q1 from 2.5% in Q4 2013. The sectors with the best performance were the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry with a 4% y/y growth, the mining industry with a 3.7% rise, general government services with a 2.5% increase, and finance, real estate and business services with a 2.4% growth.
The largest industries, as measured by their nominal value added in Q1 2013, were the finance, real estate and business services with 22.4%, the general government services with 16.8%, the wholesale, retail and motor trade and catering and accommodation industry with 16%, and the manufacturing industry with 12.6%.
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