Subpar growth in the first half of the year suggests that SA’s long-awaited economic recovery has stalled. On the other hand, growth could still bounce back. Which is it? That depends on who you talk to. Economists are divided. The most bullish believe growth could average about 2% for the year; the most bearish expect it to languish nearer 1%. The August Reuters consensus among 30 economists is for growth of 1.4% this year, rising to 2.2% by 2020. But the consensus is likely to drop precipitously following the shocking revelation, as the FM went to print, that the economy is in recession. Second-quarter real GDP growth contracted by 0.7% against expectations of a 0.6% rebound. Nedbank chief economist Dennis Dykes is among the most bearish, expecting real GDP growth of just 1% for the year as a whole — and this was before the Q2 GDP data came out. He says the mood in SA is very negative, mostly because of a lack of policy direction, particularly around the mining sector and the ANC’...

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