Economic growth accelerated for the first time in four years in 2017, with continued strong recovery in agriculture, giving weight to Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s statements that growth forecasts will probably be revised upwards. Revisions to historical data in combination with a strong broad-based economic recovery in the fourth quarter of 2017 imply that SA’s economy is in better shape than previously thought. GDP grew at a quarterly rate of 3.1% in the fourth quarter, well up on the 1.8% that economists expected, with the growth rate for the full year coming out at 1.3%, beating the Treasury’s estimate of 1% in February’s budget. Treasury has forecast growth of 1.5% in 2018 rising to 1.8% in 2019, but Nene told journalists on Monday these numbers were expected to be revised higher in October’s medium-term budget. “We do not want to be overly optimistic, we want to be realistic, but we will revise these numbers upwards come the MTBPS [medium-term budget policy statement] on th...

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