The South African economy expanded at a slower pace in the first quarter, but the rate of growth surpassed economists' forecast, data released by Statistics South Africa showed Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.7 percent quarter-over-quarter in the first quarter, notably slower than the 3.2 percent growth seen in the fourth quarter. Economists were looking for a 2.3 percent sequential increase.
Year-on-year, GDP grew 2.1 percent during the three-month period, in line with economists' expectations. In the fourth quarter, the economy expanded 2.9 percent annually.
The South African central bank last week kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 5.5 percent. The country's inflation rose to 6.1 percent in April from 6 percent in March, and remained near the upper limit of the central bank's 3-6 percent target range.
Earlier in the month, the International Monetary Fund said the outlook for countries in the sub-Saharan Africa is subject to "clear downside risks" due to global uncertainties. The IMF forecast 5.4 percent growth for the region during this year, up from about 5 percent in 2011.
by RTT Staff Writer
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