South Africa Q2 GDP plummets 51% on lockdown

Author: Jonathan Lopez

2020/09/08

LONDON (ICIS)--South Africa's second-quarter GDP contracted by 51% compared with Q1 due to the strict lockdown enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which caused the collapse of most economic activity, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The national statistical service of South Africa said only the seasonal agricultural sector managed "to keep its head above the water" with an increase of 15%.

Key petrochemical-intensive sectors like manufacturing and construction fell well over 70%.

"The punch in the gut was severe. Perhaps the second quarter of 2020 will become known as the pandemic quarter," said Stats SA.

"Nearly all industries experienced a massive drop... Construction was the biggest loser. Already in bad shape before the pandemic, the industry experienced its eighth consecutive quarter of economic decline."

The country's petrochemicals major Sasol has also faced financial difficulties as of late; second-quarter earnings saw a sharp fall and building costs at its US polymers Lake Charles project have multiplied since its inception.