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Exports and imports shrink by 7.1% – Stats SA

By News24 8 June 2016

Cape Town - Exports and imports both shrunk by 7.1% in the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest gross domestic product (GDP) figures released by Statistics SA on Wednesday.

The export of mineral products, precious metals and transport equipment was mainly responsible for the decline in exports, which made a negative contribution of -2.2% to GDP in the first quarter of 2016.

Government was biggest contributor to growth in expenditure on GDP, with a 1% increase in the first quarter of 2016. Overall expenditure on GDP fell by 0.7% in the same period.

The prolonging drought had a significant negative impact on production side of GDP and the decline of 6.5% in the first quarter of 2016 was by and large the result of a lower production of field crops and horticultural products.

In May, Bloomberg reported that South Africa’s wheat production fell to a four-year low in 2015 as the lowest rainfall in more than a century damaged the harvest. This means South Africa would have to import some two million tonnes of wheat in the year throughout September – the highest number since at least 1991.

As for the rest of the 2016 first quarter GDP figures, manufacturing managed to grow by 0.6% with wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing and basic iron and steel as the divisions that were the main contributors. Construction also increased by 0.5% thanks to increased activity in the area of civil construction works.

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