It prompted the rand to extend losses against the dollar.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday appointed a new electricity minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle that he hopes will improve service delivery and shore up the governing party’s support ahead of a general election next year.
Figures from Statistics South Africa showed gross domestic product contracted 1.3% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous three months in seasonally adjusted terms.
Analysts had predicted a 0.4% contraction in the October-December period.
Statistics South Africa revised third quarter growth to 1.8% quarter on quarter, from a previous estimate of 1.6%, but the country will tip into recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of falling GDP – if it contracts again in the current quarter.
Seven of the 10 industries tracked by Statistics South Africa shrank in October to December, with agricultural output falling 3.3% quarter on quarter, mining 3.2%, finance 2.3%, trade 2.1% and manufacturing 0.9%.
Struggling state electricity utility Eskom‘s scheduled power cuts, caused by breakdowns at its ageing fleet of coal-fired power plants, have meant up to 10 hours a day without power in recent months, hurting businesses of all sizes.
After 2.0% economic growth for 2022 as a whole, South Africa‘s economy is now 0.3% bigger than it was in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, Stats SA said, adding that the expansion was smaller than a 3.5% rise in the country’s population over the same period.
Gross domestic product grew 0.9% year on year in the fourth quarter, worse than forecasts for a 2.2% expansion.