SA virus-hit economy shrank most in 100 years in 2020

South Africa’s economy contracted the most in a century in 2020 as restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic ravaged output and disrupted trade.

Gross domestic product shrank 7%, compared with a 0.2% expansion in 2019, according to a report released by Statistics South Africa Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. That’s the biggest decline since 1920, when output dropped by 11.9% during the two-year post-World War I recession, central bank data shows.


Subscribe for full access to all our share and unit trust data tools, our award-winning articles, and support quality journalism in the process.

GDP expanded an annualised 6.3% in the three months through December from the previous quarter, following a revised 67.3% increase in the three months through September. The median estimate of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 5.6% increase. GDP contracted 4.1% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, which means output is still down from 2019.

Other key points:

  • Expenditure on GDP grew annualised 6.5% quarter-on-quarter in 4Q.
  • Household spending rose annualised 7.5%.
  • Fixed capital formation grew annualised 12.1%.
  • Agriculture industry rose annualised 5.9% quarter-on-quarter in 4Q.
  • Mining fell annualised 1.4%.
  • Manufacturing rose annualised 21.1%.
  • Trade industry rose annualised 9.8%.
  • Finance industry fell annualised 0.2%.
© 2021 Bloomberg