South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2022, with agriculture, finance, transport and manufacturing industries being the main drivers, official data showed on Tuesday.
Increases in exports and government consumption also positively contributed to the GDP growth, which came after contracting by 0.7 percent in the second quarter, the Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said at a press briefing.
“The size of the economy now exceeds pre-pandemic levels. Real GDP, measured by production, was 197 billion U.S. dollars in the third quarter, which is above the previous peak of 195.84 billion U.S. dollars recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018,” said Litshani Ligudu, acting chief director responsible for national accounts at the Stats SA.
Eight of the ten industries recorded increases in economic output in the third quarter, including agriculture, forestry, finance, real estate, business services industry, insurance and pension funding, and auxiliary activities, according to Ligudu.
Exports increased by 4.2 percent in the third quarter, driven mainly by increased trade in mineral products, metals, vegetable products and paper products, while the rise in government consumption was led by increased spending on goods and services.
Economists have expressed concerns over the nation’s long-term economic prospects despite the growth.
The growth was “a surprise, but a pleasant surprise,” said Dawie Roodt, an economist at the Efficient Group, who also warned that the energy crisis, which has not yet been resolved, will continue to impede plans for economic growth.
While the rise in the third quarter was positive, it was insufficient to solve the poor job creation, said Gabriel Crouse, an economist.
“The economy needs to grow at a rate of 5 percent to solve unemployment, as the growth is not keeping up with the country’s population growth,” added Crouse.