Don’t read too much into GDP growth spurt

South Africa’s economy has bucked analysts’ modest expectations, recording a far more robust rebound than forecast.

Added to last week’s job figures — which showed that South Africa’s ultra-high unemployment rate had retreated for the third time in a row — the GDP data might be viewed as an encouraging turn in the country’s economic trajectory.

But economists are cautious about reading too much into the third-quarter rebound, citing the country’s ongoing energy crisis and the global downturn as major headwinds.

According to data released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday, the country’s GDP expanded by 1.6% in the third quarter of 2022.

Third quarter growth means the size of the economy is now larger than it was before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, suggesting that its recovery is now firmly back on track following the 0.7% contraction recorded the previous quarter.

Eight industries recorded positive growth between the second and third quarter of 2022, contributing to the rebound, which surprised on the upside.

Analysts were expecting far more modest growth of 0.4%.

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