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With GDP up 3.1% in the second quarter of 2019 (seasonally adjusted, annualised) and 0.9% for the year to June 2019, the markets have responded positively. The rand appreciated by some 10 cents on publication of the data and bonds yields declined by about 10 basis points.
With the elections now largely behind us, investors’ focus will shift to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ability and political will in addressing issues of concern, namely: the composition of cabinet to be announced on the 28th of May, transforming the economy with the promised policy reform and resolving the problem that Eskom poses to South Africa.
The Q4 2018 GDP growth numbers are encouraging in light of the tough environment that we have just emerged from. Given that we came out of a technical recession in 2018, the turnaround to see positive growth for the full year is heartening. And while it may still not be enough to address many of our structural issues, the positive signs are likely to keep the rating agencies at bay.