The Real Economy Bulletin

The Real Economy Bulletin is a TIPS review of quarterly trends, developments and data in the real economy, together with analysis of the main manufacturing industries and key data in Excel format.

This bulletin provides information about quarterly trends in the real economy – that is, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction and productive services – with an initial focus on manufacturing. We will fill the gaps left by most quarterly bulletins on the economy by analysing growth, investment and employment at the industry level.

Every quarter, the bulletin will highlight major new projects, developments in leading manufacturing companies and policy changes in the past quarter. It will consolidate the available data on manufacturing subsectors into an easy overview of key trends. Periodically, we will present deep dives into key issues facing the real economy.

The annual REB Provincial Review analyses developments in the real economy and in development policies and projects at the provincial level. 

Main bulletin: The Real Economy Bulletin - Third Quarter 2016 In this edition:  Quarterly GDP growth: South Africa’s third quarter GDP growth, seasonally adjusted but not annualised, fell back to 0,05% compared to the surprisingly strong 0,8% expansion in the second quarter. Mining continued to recover from the sharp drop in the second quarter, growing by 1,4%, while manufacturing gave up the gains it made in the previous quarter. Agriculture lost ground for the seventh quarter in a row. Read more. Employment: Total employment remained virtually unchanged from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016. But the composition of…
Main bulletin: The Real Economy Bulletin - Second Quarter 2016 In this edition: Quarterly GDP growth: South Africa’s GDP grew by 0,8% in the second quarter of 2016, in a marked recovery from the 0,3% contraction in the first quarter of the year.  Mining and manufacturing made the largest sectoral contributions to growth. Mining grew (quarter on quarter) by 2,8%, while manufacturing grew by 2,0%. Agriculture continued to decline as the drought persisted, utilities fell by 0,4% and construction remained unchanged. Read more. Employment: Despite the relatively rapid growth in GDP in the second quarter of 2016, according to the official data employment in…
The annual REB Provincial Review analyses developments in the real economy and in development policies and projects at the provincial level. Main Bulletin: The Real Economy Bulletin Provincial Review 2016 Introduction: The share of provinces in the national GDP and population varies substantially. Gauteng alone accounts for over a third of the GDP and almost a quarter of the population. In contrast, the Eastern Cape accounts for 13% of the population but 8% of the GDP, while the Northern Cape contributes just 2% of both the economy and the population. The differences are even starker in the provinces' contribution to the real…
Main bulletin: The Real Economy Bulletin - First Quarter 2016 In this edition: Production and sales: The first quarter of 2016 was marked by a contraction in GDP, with the economy reported as shrinking by 0,3%, or 1,2% on an annualised basis. The immediate cause of the downturn was a 4,9% quarterly decline (equal to 18% in annualised terms) in mining and a 1,7% fall (or 6,5% at an annual rate) in agriculture. These contractions had a particularly sharp impact on overall growth because of a longer-term slowdown in growth in manufacturing and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the…
The Real Economy Bulletin - Fourth Quarter 2015 In this edition: Production and sales:  In the past quarter, agricultural output dropped sharply, by 4%, while manufacturing shrank by 0,6%. Mining, however, climbed by 0,4%. Overall, GDP growth slowed significantly compared to the previous quarter.  Read more. Employment:  After falling fairly steadily from 2008, manufacturing employment levelled out in 2015. Total employment climbed by 700 000 over the year, with the bulk of net new jobs emerging in public, private and domestic services and retail. Still, the global slowdown, drought and pressure on mining and heavy industry led to widespread anticipation…
The Real Economy Bulletin - Third Quarter 2015:  Growth in the GDP and employment: In the past quarter manufacturing showed a significant recovery, although both mining and agriculture contracted. Read more Trends in trade: In US dollar terms, exports declined in the past year, but rapid depreciation means they have generally increased in rand terms. Within manufacturing, the past quarter saw higher exports from wood and paper and to a lesser extent from auto, but chemicals exports dropped sharply. Imports declined in both dollar and rand terms over the year to the third quarter of 2015. Read more Profitability and investment: In the second quarter…