Real GDP growth is expected to have shrunk during the first quarter of 2018 even though the economy is in better shape than it was a year ago, economists said of the data expected to be released this week. Mining and manufacturing are forecast to contribute negatively to GDP. Mining dipped into a recession for the first time since 2015 as unresolved policy issues over the Mining Charter, mine stoppages and a stronger rand hurt mining fortunes. Mining and manufacturing combined account for about 20% of the economy. Elize Kruger, a senior economist at NKC African Economics, said uncertainty over steel and aluminium import tariffs in the US was also a negative for mining. Retail trade sales, a third main contributor to GDP, reflected positive developments in quarter one, including "consumer inflation at a seven-year low supporting the purchasing power of consumers, a 25 basis-point cut in interest rates at the end of March, moderating household debt levels and improved confidence flowi...

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