South African economy declines 0.6 percent in Q1 on weak mining activity

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Johanneburg, South Africa (4E) – South Africa’s economy contracted 0.6 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2014, the lowest quarterly gain in five years, according to Statistics South Africa.

The bigger-than-projected contraction was largely due to weaker mining activity, the official data showed.

Gold mining production eased, as well as diamond and platinum mining. Platinum mines have been hit by workers’ strikes that have dragged on for five months.

Tuesday’s results showed the first quarterly contraction since the second quarter of 2009. In the last three months of 2013, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.8 percent year over year.

South Africa’s economy grew by 1.6 percent from a year ago. For the past three years, the GDP grew at a slow and steady pace as the economy is hit by a high unemployment rate, which now stands at around 25 percent.

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