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A third month of SA's mining output declining in September raises the risk of third-quarter GDP showing yet another contraction. Statistics SA reported on Thursday that mining production fell 1.8% in September from the same month in 2017, worse than the economists’ consensus, which had expected a small growth. Mining is the first of the September figures for the various part of the South African economy used to calculate GDP, which showed a contraction in the first and second quarters. Economists define a recession as two consecutive quarters of GDP decline. Stats SA reported that the three-month average to September showed a 2.2% decline, making the second quarter's 2% rise a false dawn.

Stats SA revised October's originally reported 9.1% decline in mining production to a less severe 6.7%. Gold production plunged 19% in September from the same month in 2017, dragging overall production down 1.8% despite a 7.2% rise in platinum production. The mining production index, which wa...

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