The South African economy moved into recession with the reported decrease of 0,7% in GDP during the first quarter of 2017, following a 0,3% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Using the widely accepted measure of ‘recession’ as two (or more) consecutive quarters of negative growth (real GDP quarter-on-quarter), this means that South Africa has experienced eight economic recessions since 1961, the longest occurring in 1991–1992, mainly as result of a global economic downturn.
In 2008–2009 there was a recession over three quarters when the country became caught up in the global financial crisis.
In the first quarter of 2017, both the secondary and tertiary sectors recorded negative growth rates. The trade and manufacturing industries were the major heavyweights that stifled production, with trade falling by 5,9% and manufacturing by 3,7%.
On the positive side, the agriculture and mining industries both contributed positively to growth in the first quarter, but not enough to avoid recession.