South Africa’s economy continues with solid, better than expected growth

South Africa’s continued having solid economic growth this past quarter.  Economic growth unexpectedly accelerated to the fastest pace in a year in the first quarter as the lowest interest rates in three decades spurred manufacturers to restock to meet rising demand.

Economic growth in South Africa picked up more than expected in the first quarter, rising to 4.8%, compared with a revised quarterly figure of 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, official data showed Tuesday.

The rate of growth in seasonally adjusted gross domestic product was above economists’ expectations of 4.2%.

The largest driver of the economic expansion in the first quarter was a strong improvement in manufacturing, which contributed 2.2 percentage points to the overall quarterly growth figure, Statistics South Africa said.

This was followed by growth in finance, real estate and business services, which contributed one percentage point to overall growth, and the wholesale, retail, motor trade and accommodation industry, which contributed 0.5 of a percentage point, the agency said.

By contrast, agriculture, forestry and fishing output fell 2.6%, largely as a result of the impact of floods earlier this year on field crops.

Manufacturing growth was led by a strong expansion in the production of gasoline, chemical products, rubber and plastic products, basic iron and steel, nonferrous metal products, metal products, machinery and furniture, the agency said.

Unadjusted real GDP rose 3.6% compared with the first quarter of 2010.

This is good news for the South African economy and investors.  It shows once again that the county is on the right track economically and sound management of the economy is being exercised.

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