South Africa knocked by second recession in two years

South Africa has fallen into its second recession in two years as severe rolling power blackouts frustrate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attempt to revive growth.

The economy contracted 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to official statistics released on Tuesday, far outpacing analyst forecasts of a 0.2 per cent decline.

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The contraction came after a 0.8 per cent drop in economic output during the previous quarter, leading to South Africa’s second recession — defined as two quarters of negative growth — since 2018.

The slowdown was felt across the economy with most sectors recording falls in output, said South Africa’s official statistics agency.

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South Africa’s rapid return to recession will pile pressure on Mr Ramaphosa, whose pledge of a “new dawn” for the corruption-battered economy has flagged since he became president two years ago.

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