The World Bank has become the first financial institution to downgrade SA's 2020 economic growth forecast from 1.5% to 0.9%. This is a major blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to revive a sluggish economy and create jobs. Sadly, fresh data supports that move.
SA's economy has begun the year on a sour note, with the World Bank being the first financial institution to cut the country's economic growth outlook to below 1% for 2020 due to the return of load shedding.
Underscoring the fragility of the economy, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Thursday, 9 January that the key manufacturing sector declined 3.6% on a year-on-year basis in November 2019 - this was before the advent of Stage 6 load shedding - with nine of the 10 sub-sectors reporting contractions.
Worryingly, this included the motor vehicle division - seen as vital for employment and exports - which shrank 10%. The textile and clothing sector slid 13.3%. Only the food and beverages component saw growth, of 1.3%, which is hardly surprising as the population is growing and South Africans like to drown their sorrows.
Adding to the gloom, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) Business Confidence...