Economic growth quickened more than expected in the last quarter of 2012‚ as agriculture and manufacturing industries supported growth while mining was a drag‚ Statistics SA figures released on Tuesday (26 February) showed.
The seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product (GDP) at market prices for the fourth quarter of last year increased at an annualised rate of 2.1% compared with an increase of 1.2% during the third quarter.
Real annual GDP increased as expected by 2.5% last year following an increase of 3.5% in 2011.
Despite the better than expected figures‚ some economists said growth remained sluggish.
"This was not a bad number‚ but falls well short of what we need. Mediocre growth will not solve our problems‚ which is why monetary and fiscal policy need to work together to boost growth‚" Meganomics economist Colen Garrow said.
Stats SA identified the main contributors to the growth as manufacturing‚ which added 0.8 of a percentage point; finance‚ real estate and business services‚ with 0.6 of a percentage point contribution; and general government services‚ contributing 0.4 of a percentage point.
"The GDP figure shows there is life in the manufacturing sector‚ which helped offset the drop in the mining output caused by labour disputes in the quarter‚" said KADD Capital economist Elize Kruger.
The mining and quarrying industry recorded a negative contribution of 0.5 of a percentage point‚ mainly as the effects of strike action in the second half of last year continued to be felt.
Statistics SA officials said‚ however‚ that the negative contribution from the mining sector was not solely attributed to the strikes that occurred in platinum mines in the second half of last year‚ but were due to a "combination of factors".
The statistics agency said contributions by the electricity‚ gas and water sectors and the construction industry were insignificant.
The seasonally adjusted real annualised value added by the primary‚ secondary and tertiary sectors recorded a decrease of 3.7%‚ an increase of 3.6% and an increase of 2.4% respectively during the fourth quarter of last year.
While most economists do not expect significantly better economic growth this year‚ they do forecast a modest performance. Most expect growth to still remain below 3% this year.
"Despite the stronger-than-expected fourth quarter GDP growth‚ we still expect only a modest acceleration in 2013 (to around 2.7%) from 2.5% in 2012‚" Renaissance Capital economist Elna Moolman said.
"We are of the view that the Reserve Bank 's monetary policy committee would likely leave the repo rate unchanged through to at least the end of 2014. We remain comfortable with this view‚" said.
via I-Net Bridge