The severity of our situation still looks horrifying in black and white, and these latest figures show exactly what we are up against. GDP has dipped by 2% for the first quarter of the year, following on from a sharp rise in unemployment last week. StatsSA was left with the unenviable task of sharing the data on Tuesday morning.

South Africa’s GDP figures in 2020

The double-whammy is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent fears over a hard lockdown. The figures only reflect the first three months of 2020, where lockdown came into effect only for the last few days of March.

Although the panic had set in by then, Q2 figures are guaranteed to be even worse upon their October release. Indeed, 2020 will be a year for the history books – for all the wrong reasons.

GDP stats: What industries are the worst affected?

A few industries took a beating in Q1, with Mining, Manufacturing and Utility Services representing the worst-affected economic areas. Other industries, like agriculture and finance, saw a boom in their business. For this quarter, at least…

A struggle after the struggle

We’re sure you will not need telling, but the immediate future looks difficult for South Africa. Around R300 billion is missing in forecast tax revenue, and growth forecasts have been slashed to unprecedented levels.

We are at the base of an Everest, attempting to climb a mountain that already seemed impossible to conquer even before coronavirus landed on our shores. An extended recession is all but a certainty, too.

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Presh JM Reporter

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