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A bumpy ride for local markets last week

06 March 2006 Angelo Coppola

The Nedbank Group Economic Unit reports that last week the rand ended a volatile week at four-week lows against the dollar pressured by concern over a potential sale of a 20% stake in Gold Fields by Polyus, Russias top gold producer.

The JSE all share index ended the week 1% lower at 19299,6 compared with the previous weeks close of 19486,1, dragged down by weaker world markets. Industrials and financials lost 1,1% and 2% respectively to close at 16668,9 and 18950,4.

Gdp growth slowed down to 4,5%y-o-y (up3,3%q-o-q seasonally adjusted annualised) in the final quarter of last year from 4,9%y-o-y (up 4,2%q-o-q) in the third quarter, falling short of consensus market expectations of a seasonally adjusted annualised growth rate of 4% over the quarter.

As a result, the economy expanded by 4,9% in the 2005 as a whole, just below the key 5% level expected by government in the National Budget estimates and by most market analysts.

In the fourth quarter a relatively sharp contraction in mining output and a moderate decline in manufacturing production contained growth in real gdp.

The disappointing performance of the mining and manufacturing sectors, which together account for 22,7% of gdp, partly countered the impact of exceptionally strong growth in the broader domestic trade, financial and real estate services, transport and communication as well as construction sectors.

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