SA has exited the recession with higher-than-expected growth in the third quarter. GDP increased 2.2% in the third quarter, data from Stats SA showed on Tuesday. This was driven mainly by a boost in the manufacturing sector and a rebound in the agricultural sector.

The emergence out of the recession bodes well for President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has come under pressure to revitalise the economy in the lead-up to the 2019 election. And it sends the right signals to credit ratings agencies, which have persistently flagged SA’s low growth. However, the economy still remains weak, with the Reserve Bank expecting growth of 0.6%, and the Treasury expecting 0.7% for the year. SA slipped into a technical recession during the first half of the year for the first time since the global financial crisis. This dented the initial positive market sentiment and surge of confidence following Ramaphosa’s election. “With negative GDP growth of 2.6% and 0.4% in the first and second quarters, respe...

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