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South Africa emerges from recession as farming, manufacturing jump

Reuters  |  PRETORIA 

By Kumwenda-Mtambo

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Farms and factories dragged South out of its first recession in almost a decade, data showed on Tuesday, as the economy grew by more than expected in the third quarter.

The positive data is a boost for Cyril Ramaphosa, who has pledged to re-start growth after a decade of stagnation under his predecessor,

South Africa's economy expanded 2.2 percent in the third quarter from the second, snapping out of recession after a revised 0.4 percent contraction in the previous quarter, data from showed.

The rand added to early gains, advancing to a session-best 13.5600 per dollar at 0935 GMT from an open at 13.6150.

The economic expansion will also ease fears of credit downgrades deeper into non-investment territory following warnings by agencies about the economy. All of the top three ratings firms have cited weak growth as a major threat.

Economists polled by had predicted a 1.6 percent expansion.

Manufacturing expanded 7.5 percent, agriculture grew 6.5 percent. Mining contracted 8.8 percent, however.

Last month, the central cut its 2018 growth forecast to 0.6 percent, a touch lower than Treasury's 0.7 percent forecast in the October budget.

Analysts said they expected the recovery to continue into 2019, but that by ailing power utility posed a threat.

implemented a sixth day of controlled power cuts on Tuesday, putting more strain on the economy and raising fears of the blackouts a decade ago that reduced GDP by about 1 percent.

"In all, the data confirms our view that the South African economy is recovering," said chief economist at Razia Khan. "Renewed load shedding is a source of downside risk."

An at said: "The result was in line with our forecast of 2 percent quarter-on- quarter, which is good and also means the 0.7 percent growth forecast for full-year is still on track."

(Additional reporting by Nomvelo Chalumbira, writing by Mfuneko Toyana, editing by James Macharia, Larry King)

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

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 16:59 IST