Statistician-General Maluleka unsure whether economy will improve in near future

Stats SA said that the economy shrank by 16.4% from the first quarter to the second quarter.

Statistician general Risenga Maluleke. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – The rand has tumbled more than 1% before bouncing back somewhat after data showed that the economy contracted sharply in the second quarter due to coronavirus lockdown.

The data had been anticipated as the gross domestic product (GDP) figures reflected the economic shutdown during the hard lockdown.

Stats SA said that the economy shrank by 16.4% from the first quarter to the second quarter.

But it said to look at this differently: if the economy continues to contract in a similar way for the next few quarters, the annualised figure is 51% on an annualised basis.

The local currency fell about 1.3% to the dollar at one point before regaining some lost ground.

Bonds also suffered, with demand falling at the government auction of long-dated bonds.

Stats SA said that the economic slowdown was broad-based.

Statistician-General Risenga Maluleka said that he could not say whether things would get better in the near future.

“The economy is one of the most sensitive things. It could react to endogenous developments or exogenous developments, so something happening in the country can affect the economy and something happening outside, let’s look at oil shock… if there’s an oil shock, you could have the economy impacted.”

Mining declined 73.1%, manufacturing fell 74.9% and construction shrank 76.6%.

This was the first time in the history of the data that growth had shrunk for four consecutive quarters.

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