SA’s economy shrank in the fourth quarter, rounding out a year of mostly poor growth. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.3% compared with the previous quarter, Statistics SA said on Tuesday. That brought growth for the year to 0.3% compared with 2015. SA’s economy has been hammered in the past few years, rarely coming close to the 5% level the country needs to make progress in tackling unemployment. Mining and manufacturing, which together contribute about an eighth of SA’s GDP, have been one of the main factors. Mining production shrank every month from October 2015 to December 2016, according to Statistics SA data. Manufacturing output has been more erratic, but declined twice in the final quarter of 2016. However, recent purchasing manager indices have suggested activity in the sector will pick up in the coming months. Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan noted before the release of the GDP data on Tuesday that activity in the agricultural sector had been hit by the drought. ...

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