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S Africa exits recession as govt eyes 2019 polls

AFP  |  Johannesburg 

broke free of on Tuesday when it reported GDP growth of 2.2 per cent for the third quarter, the statistics authority said, marking a positive economic trajectory ahead of elections.

Cyril Ramaphosa, who took power in February, has pledged to revive the listless ahead of polls due in May by attracting USD 100 billion in foreign investment and by fighting corruption.

The growth, which contrasted sharply with the second quarter's 0.4 per cent contraction, was driven by a surge in the manufacturing, agriculture and transport sectors, Stats SA said in a statement.

The announcement follows a strong week for the local Rand currency which has benefited from a detente in the United States' trade war with

The Rand currency was the second strongest performing of all developing countries against the dollar since Friday, gaining 1.81 per cent according to

Lukman Otunuga, an at foreign exchange, said in a note to investors that the country's exit from would boost "confidence over the South African and investor appetite towards the rand".

The purchasing managers' index published by on Monday showed that factory orders had bounced back from a 15-month low.

was up 7.5 per cent in the third quarter compared to the second, Stats SA said.

But Tito Mboweni's mid-term budget statement delivered in October slashed South Africa's 2018 growth forecast from 1.5 per cent to 0.7 per cent.

Mboweni is the country's fifth in three years after his respected predecessor resigned in October.

The country's economic performance is seen as crucial to bolstering the ruling African National Congress' standing ahead of national polls due in May 2019.

Voters have been buffeted by soaring fuel prices and a weak local currency while is stubbornly high at about 28 per cent -- rising to over 50 per cent for young people.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 18:45 IST