South Africa Articles & Analysis

The second-largest economy in Africa after Nigeria, South Africa benefits from some of the most sophisticated financial markets in the world, paired with a robust regulatory system, and is also home to the headquarters of a number of major multinational players in the fields of industry, energy and financial services.

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Welcome rains in late summer and autumn brought some respite for South Africa’s agricultural producers towards the end of 2016, helping to boost yields and improving the chances of recovery after a two-year contraction.

In a move that bucked broader trends on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), South Africa’s banks saw their share prices jump in 2016, underpinned by a recovery in the commodities market, higher interest earnings and a vote of confidence from ratings agencies.

South Africa’s economy faced another challenging year in 2016, as soft commodity prices, slow domestic demand and an uncertain political outlook combined to limit growth, with prospects for the coming year expected to be only somewhat more positive.

Growth in trading density – a measure of turnover per sq metre of retail space – for South Africa’s larger malls has lagged behind that of smaller shopping centres, in part a reflection of the country’s slowing economy and the rapid increase in the number of dedicated retail properties.

Sales growth in South Africa’s retail sector has cooled, a result of a slow economy and conservative consumer sentiment, but there is cause for cautious optimism as the approach of summer and Christmas is likely to give the sector a lift.

Stronger performance in the manufacturing industry helped keep South Africa’s economy out of a recession, and has led to a slight upward revision in annual growth forecasts.