Business, unions taken by surprise

THE 6,4percent economic contraction reported by StatsSA yesterday took most South Africans by surprise. Here are some of the comments on the release:

THE 6,4percent economic contraction reported by StatsSA yesterday took most South Africans by surprise. Here are some of the comments on the release:

l "The terrible contraction of 6,4percent confirms ... that economic activity remains under strain.

This further complicates the Monetary Policy Committee's decision over interest rates, especially with CPI (consumer price index) remaining stubbornly around the 8,0percent level." - Efficient Group

l "Given the poor growth outlook, it is all the more essential for key stakeholders in the economy to help lay the foundations for renewed growth from 2010 onward and to do nothing that will delay a speedy economic recovery for South Africa." - Business Unity South Africa

l "This is a massive national crisis, which requires an immediate response from government, labour and business to defend our jobs and livelihoods.

The most urgent measure must include ... an immediate cut in the repo rate of at least 200 basis points to stimulate investment; emergency measures to protect vulnerable industries; and a shift by the new government to more expansionary economic policies." - Cosatu

l "Today's GDP data issues a loud call for a rapid and comprehensive response to the economic recession. Equally loud is the call for government and labour to be sensitive to the economic reality that underpins the GDP data and to exercise restraint in making further demands on business." - South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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