South Africa: Economy at a tipping point?
South Africa's economy exited technical recession in Q2 and recent data provides reason for cautious optimism. The recent recovery in agricultural output carried into in Q3, and consumer confidence is increasing on the back of moderating inflation and higher real wage growth. Adding to the good news, manufacturing output expanded in August for the first time this year. That said, this positive data, should be taken with caution. Endless political bickering constitutes is a real issue. It is the biggest stumbling block to faster GDP growth, and it continues to weigh on business confidence and stave off future investment. In September, the manufacturing PMI dipped further into contractionary territory, and business sentiment remained abysmally low despite improving from the over 30-year low recorded in August. Furthermore, political noise is set to remain elevated in the foreseeable future as the country gears up for the ANC Conference in December, when a new presidential candidate for next year’s election will be chosen. Focus Economics