Power-supply challenges late last year are likely to dampen an already weak forecast for growth in 2018. Electricity cuts, which started in November, continued into the new year and are expected to have resulted in slower growth in the mining, utilities, manufacturing and retail sectors. Retail recorded the worst sales growth in 16 years in December. This is despite the sector helping resuscitate the economy from recession in the first half of last year. Growth data for the fourth quarter of 2018 and for last year overall will be published by Stats SA on Tuesday. Consumer struggles with rising taxes and higher fuel prices - even though inflation was muted and interest rates were mostly held steady - had resulted in pressure on the margins and share prices of retailers, including food retailers, which are generally considered defensive stocks. Lester Davids, a trading desk analyst at Unum Capital, said: "To a certain extent it reflects the dire growth conditions. There will be a bit ...

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