South Africa’s economy contracts 1.5% in third quarter, more than expected

Adds detail, background

PRETORIA, December 7 (Reuters)South Africa’s economy contracted 1.5% in the third quarter from the previous three months as some of the worst unrest of the post-apartheid era in July hit sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and trade.

Data released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday was worse than forecasts by economists polled by Reuters for a 1.2% contraction over the July-September period in seasonally adjusted but not annualized terms.

Figures from Stats SA showed agriculture sector shrinking 13.6% qoq, trade 5.5%, manufacturing 4.2%, mining 0.9% and construction 0.5%. The finance sector advanced 1.2% and personal services increased 0.5%.

The July riots began as sporadic protests by supporters of former President Jacob Zuma after his arrest for defying an order to testify during a corruption probe.

But they widened in a wave of general anger over the poverty and inequalities that persist more than two decades after the end of the white minority regime in 1994. More than 300 people have been killed and thousands of shops damaged in the cities. troubles.

On a year-over-year basis, the economy grew 2.9% in the third quarter, against a forecast of 3.5% growth, reflecting a particularly sharp collapse last year as the COVID-19 pandemic dampened the activity. Expenditure on gross domestic product in the third quarter fell 1.6% quarter on quarter.

(Report by Alexander Winning edited by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Catherine Evans)

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