Health of SA’s economy in focus on Tuesday

Tuesday’s focus will be on the health of SA’s economy, with Statistics SA scheduled to release first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures at 11.30am.

The economists’ consensus is that SA’s economy shrank about 0.5% in the first quarter of 2018 from the fourth quarter of 2017.

But compared with the first quarter of 2017, SA’s economy is expected to show annual growth of 1.8%.

Investec Bank economist Lara Hodes is more optimistic than the consensus, forecasting a quarterly decline of 0.4%, and annual growth of 2% in her weekly note.

“The agriculture sector should make another relatively strong contribution to the GDP outcome, as conditions remain favourable, whilst advance releases of actual production in mining and manufacturing point to a weak quarter, as do results from the trade sector,” Hodes wrote.

“For the year as a whole, however, we expect growth to pick up from the second quarter and accelerate in 2018 to 1.9% from 1.3% year-on-year in 2017 as cyclical factors linked to higher sentiment levels, improved private sector investment and the impetus from global demand increasingly take effect.”

It is a quiet week on the JSE results front, and no companies are diarised to release their financial statements on Tuesday.

Following three trading days of gains, Asian markets were generally flat ahead of the JSE’s opening on Tuesday morning.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.16%, with Tencent gaining 0.67% to H$417.80.

This should help its 31%-owner Naspers enjoy a fourth day of gains following Monday’s 2.18% rise and Friday’s 5.72% jump.

Sydney’s ASX 200 index was down 0.34%, with BHP Billiton falling 1.33% to A$32.76 and South32 falling 1.68% to A$3.82.

BHP closed 0.71% down at R289.31 while South32 rose 1.1% to R36.90 on the JSE on Monday.

The rand was trading at R12.58 to the dollar, R12.58 to the euro and R16.74 to the pound at 6.40am.