Construction clocks up double-digit growth as GDP slows

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

South Africa's second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was R478,5billion, 3,3percent higher than the first quarter's R463billion at current prices.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported the country's "headline GDP" growth as 4,5percent from the first quarter, slower than the previous quarter's 4,7percent growth and below government's 5percent target. Stats SA calculates economic growth using seasonally adjusted and annualised 2000 prices.

Stats SA breaks the economy into 10 sectors. The largest is "finance, real estate and business services", which contributed 20percent of GDP, followed by manufacturing's 16percent, with "general government services" in third place accounting for 13percent of GDP.

Construction continued to be the fastest growing economic sector, growing 14percent. It has clocked up double-digit growth for the 14th quarter in a row, but still only contributes 3percent of total GDP.

Though small, construction's "contribution to economic growth has been heartfelt in respect of the lifelines it has extended to the local economy's production and employment base", Standard Bank said.

Mining was the only sector which contracted during the quarter. Standard Bank's economists said bad weather worsened the local industry's state rail monopoly woes. The Minerals and Energy Department said regulatory and infrastructural constraints lost the country more than R5million worth of potential mining investments.

Though the manufacturing sector grew by a modest 0,5percent, manufacturers' confidence remained at a historical high of 78 index points during the quarter according to the Bureau for Economic Research.