The contraction follows on GDP growth of 0.4% in the third quarter. The 0.3% negative growth in the fourth quarter is the first negative quarter four growth since a -2.3% drop that was seen in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Announcing the GDP figures at a media briefing in Pretoria, Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) Chief Director for National Accounts, Michael Manamela, said mining and manufacturing were the two major industries that contributed negatively to growth in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Mining and quarrying decreased by 11.5% in the fourth quarter due to lower production in coal, gold and other metal ores. Mining and quarrying contributed -0.9% to GDP growth.
Meanwhile, manufacturing decreased by 3.1% due to lower production in the manufacturing of foods and beverages and the manufacturing of petroleum, among others.
Meanwhile, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has been contracting for eight consecutive quarters, contracting by 0.1% in the fourth quarter mainly due to the decline in the production of horticultural products.
The trade, catering and accommodation industry and finance, real estate and business services increased by 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively.
Stats SA said expenditure on real gross domestic product fell by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016. This, as household final consumption expenditure rose by 2.2% in the fourth quarter.
Statistics SA said real annual GDP increased by 0.3% in 2016 following an increase of 1.3% in 2015.
The annual real GDP growth of 0.3% in 2016 was primarily led by increased economic activity in the tertiary sector.
In 2016, nominal GDP was estimated at R4.3 trillion, which is R287 billion more than in 2015.
When coming to exports, net exports contributed positively to growth in expenditure on GDP. Exports increased by 12.5% due to higher exports of precious metals and mineral products. Imports increased by 6.1% due to higher imports of machinery and equipment.