Increased economic activity during the second quarter of 2012 resulted in a 3.2% jump in seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product (GDP), compared with the 2.7% expansion recorded in the first quarter, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Tuesday.
In its quarterly GDP report, Stats SA stated that the mining and quarrying sector, which grew by 31.2%, contributed 1.5 percentage points to the second-quarter GDP increase.
Stanlib economist Kevin Lings stated that, had the mining sector not rebounded during the second quarter, the growth rate would have reached a more modest 1.7% annualised quarter-on-quarter growth.
Banking group Nedbank warned the mining sector was expected to come under renewed pressure, given the weak global economic growth and the disruptions earlier this month at platinum producer Lonmin’s Marikana mine.
The sector, with its current illegal strike action in platinum, would be an ongoing contributor of volatility and offset third-quarter GDP growth, agreed Nomura International economist Peter Attard-Montalto.
The finance, real estate and business services sector added 0.5 percentage points and the wholesale, retail and motor trade, catering and accommodation sectors added 0.4 percentage points.
The manufacturing industry impacted GDP negatively with -0.2 percentage points after a 1% decline in growth, while -0.1 percentage points emerged from the electricity, gas and water industry following 4.2% lower growth.
Manufacturing would continue to be impacted by weak external demand, while agriculture, which experienced a 5.8% growth during the period, would continue to improve.
“We still expect growth to slow through the second half as contagion from the external sector spreads, but the economy is clearly leaving the first half at a much higher base than we thought even excluding mining,” commented Attard-Montalto.
Lings said that South Africa’s GDP growth was forecast to grow by 2.6% in 2012, rising to just over 3% in 2013, “assuming no further significant weakening in the global economy”.
Overall, he added, South Africa had now experienced 12 consecutive quarters of fairly reasonable, positive growth.