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South Africa's 1Q21 GDP growth exceeds consensus expectations

09 June 2021 FNB
Thanda Sithole, FNB Economist

Thanda Sithole, FNB Economist

The economy’s GDP officially grew by 4.6% q/q at a seasonally adjusted and annualised rate (saar) in 1Q21, following downwardly revised growth of 5.8% q/q (previously: 6.3% q/q) seasonally adjusted and annualised.

The out-turn was higher than our 2.4% q/q estimate and the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 3.1% q/q. The Bloomberg forecast survey of 16 research houses ranged from a minimum of 1.5% q/q to a maximum of 9.2% q/q. Interestingly, the most considerable surprise to our forecast was the finance, insurance, real estate, and business services sector which posted solid growth of 7.4% q/q (versus our estimate of 2.0% q/q), contributing 1.5ppt to overall real GDP growth. Despite sustained quarterly growth momentum, the economy's GDP was still 3.2% below 1Q20 levels.

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