The JSE was firmer at midday on Tuesday despite data by Statistics SA showing that the economy contracted in the last quarter of 2016. GDP for the fourth quarter shrank 0.3% quarter on quarter. The main contributors to the negative GDP growth rate were the mining and manufacturing industries, which contracted 11.5% and 3.1%, respectively. The agriculture, forestry and fishing industries have been in decline for eight consecutive quarters. 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, but that growth was likely to improve slowly over the next three years on an expected increase in exports, as the global economy improved.

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