South Africa – Economic forecast summary

EO102 South Africa
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Economic growth is projected to pick up moderately in 2018-19, as stronger activity in trading partners boosts exports. Investment will support growth in 2019 on the assumption that business confidence increases and policy uncertainty fades. Despite persistently high unemployment, private consumption will expand as wages increase moderately and food prices stabilise.

Falling inflation leaves room for a moderately expansionary monetary policy to support activity. Unexpected slippage of the budget deficit is contributing to growth in the short term, but is also creating more pressure to contain rising public debt and is raising the risk of a further credit downgrade. Improving the efficiency of public spending and better controlling the deficits of state-owned enterprises are necessary to raise fiscal credibility and create room for public investment to foster growth and reduce social inequality.

The high dependence on external financing is the main source of financial vulnerability. Low investor confidence and credit rating downgrades in 2017 have contributed to a net outflow of foreign investment. To cushion the transmission of external shocks to the financial system, implementation of the financial sector regulatory reform should be accelerated and foreign-currency-denominated debt issued by private entities further monitored.

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