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South African economy down in fourth quarter of 2016

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s economy shrank by 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2016, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Tuesday.

This was mainly due to a fall in mining and manufacturing production, Stats SA said.

The poor performance in the mining and manufacturing production pulled South African economic growth into negative territory, Stats SA said while releasing the preliminary figures of gross domestic product (GDP).

The mining industry’s 11.5 percent drop in production was the main contributor to the economy’s slowdown, brought about by a fall in production of coal, gold and other metal ores, such as platinum and iron ore, said Stats SA.

Adding to the slowdown was manufacturing, contracting by 3.1 percent in the same quarter.

This was largely a result of slower production in manufacturing sectors related to food and beverages, petroleum and chemicals, and transport equipment, according to Stats SA.

All industries in the tertiary sector recorded positive growth rates, led by an increase of 2.6 percent in transport and communication services and an increase of 2.1 percent in trade, catering and accommodation services.

Meanwhile, expenditure on GDP decreased by 0.1 percent the fourth quarter of 2016 following an increase of 0.4 percent in the third quarter.

Increases were recorded in consumption expenditure (household and government) as well as fixed investment, but a decline in inventories pulled the total growth rate into negative territory.

There were large inventory drawdowns for the mining industry (lower production but higher exports of precious metals and mineral products).

These were partly offset by inventory build-up in the manufacturing sector.

Annually, the South African economy grew by 0.3 percent last year compared with 2015, according to Stats SA.



Namibia economy to grow by 2.9 pct in 2017: central bank

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibia’s domestic economic growth is expected to improve to 2.9 percent in 2017, according to the Bank of Namibia (BoN).

The central bank on Tuesday released the February 2017 Economic Outlook Update with the domestic economic growth estimated to have slowed to 1.0 percent in 2016, and now expected to improve.

In a statement BoN said, the estimated growth rate is much lower compared to the November 2016 update, which was projected at 2.5 percent and 4 percent for 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“The lower growth expectation for 2016, when compared to the last update is due to deeper contractions in diamond mining and construction than earlier expected,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, BoN said that risks to the domestic economy remains definite since the last economic outlook update in November 2016.

“Such risks include low commodity prices and global uncertainty emanating from trade relations between the US and her trading partners. Despite the recent uptick in the uranium price, the reverse in this price could lead to deterioration in Namibia’s terms of trade and exert pressure on both the current account balance and international reserves,” the central bank said.

Furthermore, BoN said the recent outbreak of army worms in some parts of the country and in the southern African region constitute a major risk to growth in the agricultural sector.



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