South Africa has officially been plunged into a technical recession, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday.
The economy contracted by 0.7% in the second quarter of this year, following on from a 2.6 % contraction in the first quarter of 2018, leading to a technical recession, Stats SA confirmed on Tuesday.
“We are in recession. We reported a contraction in the first quarter even with revisions and now in the second quarter with a fall of 0.7%, we are in recession,” Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said in Pretoria on Tuesday.
This is South Africa’s first recession since the 2008/09 global financial crisis.
The primary sector has been the hardest hit, which includes agriculture, trade, transport and government. Widespread droughts throughout the country have hit the agricultural sector, resulting in a mammoth 29.2% decline in the second quarter.
This was followed by the transport industry with a 4.9% decline and the trade industry with a 1.9% decline.
The mining sector, however, saw an increase in production and was up 4.9%.
Consumer spending habits have also been adjusted for the first time since 2016, which saw a drop in spending by 1.3%, with Stats SA saying that this matched a decline in the sale of the retail and motor industry sectors for the same period.
Electricity consumption, however, increased by 2.1%, despite a 5.23% increase for direct Eskom customers which was approved by The National Energy Regulator of South Africa earlier this year.
Exports grew substantially by 13.7% in the second quarter, with a rise in the exports of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones as well as vegetable products.