If ever there was a case for the kinds of microeconomic reforms urged in the Treasury's recent economic policy paper, it was this week's GDP figures. They showed an economy that rebounded more strongly than expected in the second quarter after the first-quarter crash. But the drivers were temporary and cyclical. Eskom's turnaround from summer load-shedding to winter lights on helped turn negative to positive; mining picked up sharply thanks in part to an iron ore price which soared and is now tanking again. There are no guarantees the rebound will be sustained for the rest of this year, especially at a time when the global environment is turning against us. Even if it is, we're still looking (again) at no more than 1% for the year, so SA's standard of living continues to go backwards, as it has done for the past five years.

Macroeconomic policy - fiscal and monetary - can't pull SA out of the trough, certainly not on any sustained basis. It has to be the micro. Hence the Treas...

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