SA may learn this week that it has escaped a technical recession in the second quarter, but that will be scant relief for consumers battered by the plummeting rand and fuel price and VAT hikes. Economists, speaking ahead of the release of second-quarter GDP figures on Tuesday, said the economy had only "narrowly escaped" recession and that the upcoming data may mask chronic underlying weakness. A technical recession is two consecutive quarters of a contraction in growth. GDP contracted 2.2% in the first quarter of this year from the fourth quarter of 2017. The Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee will consider GDP when it decides on interest rates later this month. The consensus among economists is for the central bank to keep rates unchanged until early next year in spite of rising interest rates in the US that are expected to result in capital outflows from emerging markets such as SA. A recession amid capital outflows, escalating trade tensions between the US and its major tr...

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