According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the country’s economy grew by 1,1% in the first quarter of 2021, translating into an annualised growth rate of 4,6%.

This follows a revised 1,4% rise in real gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“The finance, mining and trade industries were the main drivers of output on the production and supply side of the economy, while household spending and changes in inventories helped spur growth on the expenditure and demand side”, Stats SA further reports.

“Despite this being the third consecutive quarter of positive growth, the South African economy is 2,7% smaller than it was in the first quarter of 2020,” it states.

Dr Azar Jammine, chief economist at Econometrix gives some analysis:

Unemployment stats:

Last week, Statistics South Africa released the unemployment rate for the first quarter, which rose slightly to a new record high of 32.6% from 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020. This means that the number of unemployed people now stands at seven million and 242 000.

According to an expanded definition of unemployment that includes those discouraged from seeking work, 43.2% of the labour force was without work in the first quarter.

Rand slips ahead of GDP announcement

Frayed nerves ahead of US inflation data later this week cast a shadow over emerging markets on Tuesday, with South Africa’s rand leading losses ahead of domestic economic growth data.

Against a stronger dollar, the rand fell 0.6%, pulling further away from 28-month highs.  But the rand is still by far the best performing Emerging Market currency this year, up more than 8%, helped in part by rising commodity prices.  – additional reporting by Reuters