Stats SA expected to announce fall in first quarter GDP

Stats SA is expected to report that SA's economy shrank in the first quarter of 2019 when it announces the country's latest gross domestic product figures at a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.  

Since early May, economists have been warning of an economic downturn in the first three months of the year, caused by depressed expenditure and investment in the economy, weak demand, the impact of load shedding, and continual falls in mining production.  

In late May, Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago predicted that the economy would contract in the first quarter of 2019, but did not say by how much. Last week Investec's Annabel Bishop said real GDP is likely to have contracted by -1.9% in Q1. 

SA's economy fell into a technical recession in the first half of 2018 after experiencing two successive quarters of negative economic growth. Economic growth gained pace in the third quarter

Predictions of a fall in GDP come as the country's estimated annual GDP growth has repeatedly been revised downwards since the start of the year. 

In January the World Bank lowered SA's projected 2019 growth rate to 1.3% from 1.8%; in April the International Monetary Fund cut its estimate to 1.2% from 1.4%; while in May the Reserve Bank cut its projection to 1% from 1.3% in March.

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