South Africa Economy Contracts Two Percent In First Quarter

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A queue of cars are seen at the Maseru Bridge border post between Lesotho and South Africa on March 24, 2020. Molise Molise / AFP.

The economy of South Africa, the continent’s most advanced, shrunk by two percent in the first quarter of this year, its third consecutive quarterly decline, official statistics showed Tuesday.

StatsSA said mining and manufacturing were the biggest drags on overall economic activity — with the mining and quarrying sectors shrinking by 21.5 percent.

The manufacturing industry contracted by 8.5 percent.

Overall, the economy is projected to shrink by 7.2 percent in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the deepest slump in 90 years, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said last week.

The latest figures do not reflect the impact of the coronavirus which only started in March, leading to the shutdown of the country from March 27.

South Africa which has the highest recorded number of coronavirus infections in sub-Saharan Africa, with 144, 264 cases, including 2,529 fatalities.

The government has been gradually easing the lockdown in phases, but the numbers of infections are climbing fast with the Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warning that the country is yet to reach its peak.

AFP

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