Macroeconomic Digest-Volume II-Econ Growth: March 2021

English Podcast: Microeconomic Digest

• Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Growth Rates

South Africa’s GDP increased at an annualised rate of 6,3% in the fourth quarter (October to December) of 2020 when compared to the previous quarter (July to September) of 2020, largely as a result of further easing of corona virus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions. The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry increased at a rate of 5,9%, and contributed 0,2 of a percentage point. It is noteworthy that in 2020, the agricultural sector performed well in all its sub-sector of field crops, horticulture and livestock.

• Crude Oil and the Exchange Rate

Comparing February 2020 to February 2021, y-o-y, the price of crude oil increased by 13% while the exchange rate depreciated by 1.8%. This increase in crude oil prices shows returning price trend to pre-pandemic levels. Although, the oil market remains fragile in the early part of 2021 as measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, with its more contagious variants, weigh heavily on the near-term recovery in global oil demand. In February 2021, the price of crude oil and the exchange rate reached levels of US$62.22/barrel and R14.76/$, respectively.

• Average Prime Interest Rate

The prime interest rate is currently 24.3% lower than during November 2014. The prime interest rate reached a peak of 10.5% during the period March 2016 to June 2017. The prime interest rate remains at 7.0% in November 2020.

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