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South Africa Economy Profile 2017

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Economy - overviewSouth Africa is a middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world.

Economic growth has decelerated in recent years, slowing to an estimated 0.3% in 2016. Unemployment, poverty, and inequality - among the highest in the world - remain a challenge. Official unemployment is roughly 26% of the workforce, and runs significantly higher among black youth. Even though the country's modern infrastructure supports a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region, unstable electricity supplies retard growth. Eskom, the state-run power company, is building three new power stations and is installing new power demand management programs to improve power grid reliability; in late 2016 they issued a request for bids to revamp South Africa’s nuclear power generating capabilities. Load shedding and resulting rolling blackouts gripped many parts of South Africa in late 2014 and early 2015 because of electricity supply constraints due to technical problems at some generation units, unavoidable planned maintenance, and an accident at a power station.

South Africa's economic policy has focused on controlling inflation; however, the country faces structural constraints that also limit economic growth, such as skills shortages, declining global competitiveness, and frequent work stoppages due to strike action. The government faces growing pressure from urban constituencies to improve the delivery of basic services to low-income areas, to increase job growth, and to provide university level-education at affordable prices. Political infighting among South Africa’s ruling party and the volatility of the Rand risks economic growth. International investors are concerned about the country’s long-term economic stability; as of December 2016, most major international credit ratings agencies placed South Africa only one level above junk bond status.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$739.1 billion (2016 est.)
$735.4 billion (2015 est.)
$726.3 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$280.4 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate0.5% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
1.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$13,500 (2016 est.)
$13,400 (2015 est.)
$13,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving16.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
16.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
15.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 58%
government consumption: 19.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.1%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 34.9%
imports of goods and services: -33.4% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 2.2%
industry: 29.2%
services: 68.7% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line16.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force21.7 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 4.6%
industry: 23.5%
services: 71.9% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate26.8% (2016 est.)
25.4% (2015 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 51.3%
male: 48%
female: 55.3% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 51.3% (2011 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index62.5 (2013 est.)
63.4 (2011 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $76.62 billion
expenditures: $86.45 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues27.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt43.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)6.5% (2016 est.)
4.5% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate5.75% (31 December 2014)
7% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate10.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
9.42% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$99.49 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$91.72 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$172.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$192.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$209 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$196.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$735.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$933.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$942.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
Industriesmining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate-1% (2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$9.624 billion (2016 est.)
-$13.95 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$83.16 billion (2016 est.)
$81.63 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesgold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Exports - partnersChina 9.2%, US 7.6%, Germany 6.6%, Namibia 5.1%, Botswana 5.1%, Japan 4.9%, UK 4.1% (2015)
Imports$85.03 billion (2016 est.)
$84.33 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
Imports - partnersChina 18.4%, Germany 11.4%, US 7.1%, India 5% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$44.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$45.91 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$129.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$131.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$128.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$124.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$168.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$162.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesrand (ZAR) per US dollar -
15.7 (2016 est.)
12.7581 (2015 est.)
12.7581 (2014 est.)
10.8469 (2013 est.)
8.2 (2012 est.)
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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