The government has been taking action to tackle unique challenges

Africa’s second-biggest economy and by far its most globally integrated in terms of capital and trade flows, South Africa has had to navigate challenging waters in recent years. The economy has come a long way since apartheid ended 20 years ago, with significant improvements in both productivity and capacity – and a GDP that is now 2.5 times larger – but domestic and exogenous pressures have taken their toll on GDP growth.

South Africa continues to benefit from a number of comparative advantages, such as a robust financial services industry, a strong private sector and well-maintained infrastructure, but with regular strikes, twin deficits and high levels of unemployment, the country’s performance since the onset of the global financial crisis has been lacklustre. Increased economic sophistication has resulted in South Africa’s inclusion in the BRICS and G20 economic blocs, but structural challenges remain. As one of the more unequal economies in the world, the country saw unemployment grow to 25.5% at the end of the second quarter of 2014.

The strong traits of South Africa’s economy along with its structural weaknesses make for an unusual pairing. The country received an overall ranking of 56th out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15” rankings, one of the highest on the continent. The country ranked among the top 50 in important areas such as property rights, judicial independence, innovation and business sophistication, but in the bottom 50 in terms of health care, primary education and labour market efficiency. South Africa also ranked in the top three in several categories related to corporate governance, the financial sector and markets, but is towards the bottom of the list in terms of labour-employer relations and scientific education.

Uneasy Growth

Headline GDP grew by 1.9% in 2013, although its components fluctuated considerably in synch with labour unrest. Manufacturing, for example, grew by 11.7% in the second quarter, only to plummet during labour strikes in the third quarter. Government data provider Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported that August and September 2013 saw auto manufacturing dip by 47.3% and 69.9%, respectively, as a result of tool downing in factories. Meanwhile, the primary sector suffered from mining strikes in the second quarter while growth picked up in the third. As a result of the 2014 platinum sector strikes (see analysis), GDP fell by 0.6% in the first quarter of 2014, representing the first contraction since 2009. However, strong manufacturing and retail numbers in June 2014 prevented a second consecutive quarter of negative growth, saving South Africa from recession.

Recent Performance

Although strong by comparison to many members of the OECD – particularly the eurozone – GDP performance in 2013 was nonetheless the third-worst since the end of apartheid in 1994. Only the 1998 rate of 0.5% and the 2009 contraction of 1.5% were worse. GDP growth has already slowed over the past two years, from 3.6% in 2011 to 2.5% in 2012 and 1.9% in 2013. The turbulence is expected to continue over the short term, although 2015 should show a stronger recovery. Amid longer-than-expected labour strikes, weak consumption and investor data, and high interest rates, almost all economists lowered their 2014 GDP growth forecasts. Through to the middle of the year, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) reduced its forecast from 2.6% to 2.1%, and again to 1.5%. The World Bank revised growth forecasts down from 2.7% to 2% for 2014 and to 4.7% for 2015. The IMF cut the 2014 growth forecast four times in the last year to 1.4% for 2014 and 2.7% or 2015.

Most of these institutions state that, provided there are no negative shocks, growth is set to pick up again in the next two years, although the opportunity costs will have an impact on performance over the medium term. Goolam Ballim, the chief economist and head of research at Standard Bank, told OBG, “South Africa’s economy is experiencing perennial malaise in a Japan-type lost decade.” Ballim also said the economy may be bereft of internal growth drivers for the next 18 months.

The size of South Africa’s economy was estimated by the National Treasury at R3.5trn ($331.45bn) for the fiscal year ending March 2014. The country was leapfrogged in terms of absolute size by Nigeria in 2013, following a rebasing exercise in the West Africa country – its first in 24 years – that better accounted for service activity, but South Africa still remains number one in the continent in terms of incomes, with a GDP per capita of $6618 in 2013.

Sectoral Performance

The primary and secondary sectors have seen slow growth and a smaller share of the pie as South Africa’s strengths increase in tertiary sectors. Mining’s share of GDP is down from 21% in 1970 to 5% in 2013. Volumes have been strong but volatile in recent years. In 2013 GDP in the mining sector rebounded to grow 8.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the fourth quarter, following y-o-y growth of 2.5% in the third quarter and a 2.6% contraction in the second quarter. The sector contracted by 24.7% in the first quarter of 2014, amid strikes that brought platinum production to a standstill.

GDP growth in the agriculture sector fell all four quarters in 2013. Adverse weather conditions along with lacklustre global aggregate demand dampened growth in the sector. While manufacturing sector GDP grew stronger through 2013 and fourth-quarter sector growth of 1.9% helped to boost overall GDP, the sector’s share of the economy has shrunk over time. The tertiary sector has proven the most resilient, expanding by 1.8% in the first quarter of 2014 even as the overall economy contracted.

Managing Inflation

SARB’s monetary policy targets an inflation range between 3% and 6%. In April 2014 the upper end was only just breached as a rate of 6.1% was recorded, rising further to 6.6% in May. By September 2014, inflation hovered between 6.3% and 6.4%. In its April 2013 “Regional Economic Outlook”, the IMF forecast 6.3% inflation for 2014, after which price increases would come back within the SARB target range. The inflation forecasts compare favourably with other sub-Saharan African nations, where a number of larger frontier markets are experiencing price rises in the double digits. While most economists are revising inflationary expectations upwards for the end of 2014, inflation is still expected to fall back below 6% in 2015.

While SARB allows temporary breaches of the target band, it unexpectedly hiked interest rates by 50 basis points to 5.5% in January 2014 to combat inflation. SARB had kept the rate at 5% for a few years, but Standard Bank was already anticipating another two 25-basis-point increases by the end of the year. In July 2014 SARB increased rates by a further 25 basis points to 5.75%. SARB is faced with a difficult policy choice in using interest rates as a tool to check inflation, in part because inflation is a result of supply-side factors rather than demand-side ones. Higher food prices and a weaker rand are pushing up import prices, but given the country’s slow growth, there are concerns over the subsequent impact of interest rate rises on broader activity. Business lobby group Business Unity South Africa, for example, has stated that increasing interest rates could undermine growth and weaken job creation prospects.

The rand is among the most liquid and tradable currencies globally and is often used as a proxy for emerging market interest. In 2013 the rand depreciated 24% against the dollar to R10.16:$1. South African research firm Econometrix expects the rate to slide further to R10.77:$1 for 2014, testing SARB’s policy of non-intervention with the currency. However, foreign reserves have remained stable at around $50bn for the last two years, representing 19.4 weeks of import cover, up from 19.1 weeks in 2012 and 14.6 weeks in 2008. The rand recovered some ground in 2014 after the effects of US tapering dwindled and lost only 1.2% to the dollar in the first half of the year. Foreigners buying up government bonds have also helped to put the brakes on the rand’s decline, although further interest rate hikes may cool capital inflows. Ballim said that he expects the rand to appreciate and get to under 10 to the dollar in the first quarter of 2015. “We suspect the rand is cheap, and will fall between 8.9 and 10.2 to the dollar in the next year or two,” Ballim told OBG.

Employment

Unemployment reached 25.5% at the halfway point of 2014, or 35.6% using the broader definition that includes discouraged workers, according to Stats SA. In the second quarter of 2014, 87,000 more people were added to the jobless total of 5.2m. The quarter saw 60,000 manufacturing jobs lost, along with 39,000 in farming, 34,000 in financial services, 18,000 in construction and 5000 in mining. Jobs created were mostly government functions in community and social services. Unit labour cost increases have also slowed in the last two years to around 0.6% annually. While this may help limit inflationary pressures, more frequent and prolonged strikes have added to wage pressures.

However, there has been a trend towards rising informal employment and falling formal employment. According to a September 2014 bulletin from Stats SA, there were 2.5m South Africans employed in the informal sector in June 2014, compared to 11.3m in the formal sector at the same time.

Adam Cracker, CEO of local management consulting firm IQ Business, told OBG, “Employment growth in the public sector is reaching a ceiling, while some in the private sector are downsizing. South Africa has suffered from an inefficient employment model that had a propensity to employ more people and use less technology than in developed markets. However, this realisation is maturing and a shift is on the horizon. In the meantime, employment opportunities are expected to come from [small and medium-sized enterprises] SMEs and entrepreneurs.”

Consumption & Investment

Household consumption, which represents about two-thirds of GDP, has been gradually declining because of slowing real income in an inflationary environment. Real income growth is less than 3%, according to Ballim, who added that 60% of the economy is cash-constrained. The investment share of GDP is 19.4%, of which the private sector accounts for around two-thirds. While the turbulence of recent years has undoubtedly slowed investment, it still saw an increase y-o-y in 2013. Capital spending by private enterprises grew by 5.5% in 2013. Investment was strongest in the manufacturing, construction, and utilities segments, at 11.4%, 7.2% and 5.1%, respectively, according to Stats SA. Government investment, one-third of the total, is not likely to increase, given fiscal constraints.

There is certainly scope to expand private spending further, but firms are generally conserving cash at the moment. “With economic growth of less than 2%, domestic investment will be significantly reduced,” Simon Freemantle, senior political economist at Standard Bank, told OBG. He also said the private sector is sitting on significant capital on its balance sheets, which provides capacity for expansion, but it is unlikely to ramp up fixed capital formation in the next few years until there is greater clarity on the medium term.

FDI In & Out

In an example of the robust fundamentals of the economy, South Africa remains a large target market for foreign investors. Despite the economic climate, the country was the continent’s top foreign direct investment (FDI) recipient in 2013, with inflows of $8.2bn, nearly doubling the $4.6bn in 2012. A total of 130 foreign firms either entered or expanded investment in 2013. Between 2007 and 2013 the country attracted 24% of all FDI inflows into Africa, according to the 2014 “Attractiveness Survey” for Africa by EY. South Africa’s share significantly exceeds the next top three – Nigeria, Angola and Kenya – each bringing in less than 10%. FDI value on the continent grew by 12.9% in 2013. The country has been particularly effective at drawing in capital from select markets: over the past decade China’s FDI stock in South Africa has grown 100-fold, according to Goldman Sachs.

Domestic firms, ranging from retail operator Massmart to telecoms provider MTN, are contributing to investment across the continent: outward investment from South Africa to the rest of Africa almost doubled in 2013 to $5.6bn. “Low growth, tighter margins and higher competition in South Africa have, to an extent, pushed local firms to look abroad for growth opportunities. This is especially evident in the retail consumer space as the large retailers and supermarkets expand regionally,” said Cracker. South Africa’s investments in the rest of Africa have increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65% since 2007, according to Standard Bank.

South Africa benefits from a liberal and open business environment, along with robust regulatory regimes and strong investor protections, although parliamentary debates do sometimes contribute to a level of uncertainty over government policy. A new bill slated in the parliamentary calendar for 2014 is set to restrict foreign ownership of land. The Acquisition and Disposal of Land by Foreign Persons Bill will not seek to expropriate existing foreign ownership – foreigners own 7% of property in South Africa, according to government estimates – but new restrictions will prevent foreigners from acquiring additional land outright, instead allowing for 30-year-long leases. Similarly, new immigration rules are set to go into effect in May 2015 and may impact South Africa’s ability to attract specialised workers. Work visas will be harder to obtain and the categories more limited, with some work permits having been repealed.

Ratings

South Africa’s credit ratings have steadily climbed in the years since 1994, from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) junk status of “BB” in 1994 to “BBB+” in 2005. In 2009 Moody’s upgraded South Africa from “Baa1” to “A3”. Improvement lasted until the second half of 2012, when all three agencies downgraded South Africa in the wake of the Marikana tragedy, which left some 47 people dead after striking miners clashed with authorities. In 2013 South Africa was rated “Baa1” by Moody’s and “BBB” by S&P.

In June 2014 S&P lowered South Africa’s longterm foreign currency rating one notch to “BBB-”, just one spot above junk status. The new rating puts South Africa on par with emerging market peers such as Brazil and Russia. A week earlier, Fitch changed its South Africa outlook from stable to negative, but maintained its “BBB” rating. The last of the three major credit ratings agencies, Moody’s, has a “Baa2” rating for South Africa.

Konrad Reuss, managing director for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa at S&P, said the agency’s ratings drop was a natural follow-on to the negative outlook placed on South Africa in October 2012, because the concerns raised then were not adequately addressed. “Lacklustre growth, labour market rigidities, debt dynamics and the current account deficit are our major concerns,” Reuss told OBG.

Reuss added that rising inflation is forcing households to be overleveraged in an environment where there are virtually no savings. Despite this, nobody expects South Africa to drop out of investment grade. S&P maintained a stable outlook, and reported that this “reflects our view that current labour tensions will be resolved and that lacklustre economic performance will not affect South Africa’s fiscal and external balance beyond our revised expectations”.

Rising Debt

South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 39% – far below most OECD member states. The National Treasury forecasts that debt to GDP will plateau and stabilise at 44.3% in the fiscal year ending March 2017. This is a contrast to 2008, when the ratio was 23%. Axel Schimmelpfennig, the IMF’s senior resident representative in South Africa, explained that it is not the level of debt, but the direction that is worrying. In contrast, he said, “Most emerging markets peers are stabilising or bringing debt down.”

Reuss confirmed this, saying, “The government is not overleveraged, but rising debt is a concern. South Africa’s deficits are high by African standards.” The government has forecast that the 2016/17 fiscal year will be the inflexion point, but Reuss believes that this has been a moving target. S&P expects debt to GDP to reach 46% by 2017.

Strapped Fiscally

The National Treasury’s 2014 budget reported that the budget deficit would be 4% of GDP, or R153.1bn ($14.5bn), for the 2014/15 fiscal year, a ratio equivalent to that of France, albeit a change from 2007/08 when the country ran a surplus. However, economists are predicting numbers ranging from 4.1-4.5% of GDP. Meanwhile, the government has set targets to cut the budget deficit to 3.6% in the 2015/16 fiscal year and 2.8% for 2016/17.

Balancing Act

In trying to determine where this cut would come from, Reuss stated that it would be difficult to scale back expenditures. The government has already committed to a three-year, R847bn ($80.21bn) infrastructure investment, and non-discretionary spending like wages is difficult to cut. The three-year public wage agreement is coming to an end in 2014 and talks are under way for the threeyear cycle to begin the following year. “The best case would be a prudent multi-year wage agreement that caps public sector wages at inflation plus one or two percentage points,” Reuss told OBG. The public sector workforce exceeds 2m, accounting for onequarter of all formal non-agricultural employment.

On the revenue side, the South African Revenue Service has estimated the collection of R993.6bn ($94.09bn) in the current fiscal year ending March 2015. In this fiscal year, personal income tax contributions are budgeted to account for 33.8% of total budget revenue, corporate tax will contribute 20% and 26.9% will come from value-added tax (VAT). Other revenues will be derived from sources such as fuel levies and Customs duties. South Africa has a flat corporate tax rate of 28% and a 15% dividends tax, subject to double tax treaties and exemptions. In the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2014” report, South Africa improved greatly in the area of paying corporate taxes, jumping from 32nd in 2013 to 24th in 2014, reflecting the relative ease and low cost of paying taxes. The personal income tax base is low but rising, and the 6.4m in tax returns submitted in 2012/13 represented an increase of 3.8% over the previous fiscal year. Reuss stated that further adjusting VAT would have the biggest impact on revenues, as VAT is now at 14%, and there is room for a 1- to 1.5-percentage-point increase. “There will be an inflationary shock for one year, but households can adjust their consumption patterns,” he told OBG.

Rebalancing Trade

Like a number of other major African economies, including Kenya and Ghana, South Africa has suffered from twin deficits in the last few years, as the current account is in the red. The current account deficit widened from 5.2% in 2012 to 5.8% in 2013, mainly because of a large trade imbalance. The trade deficit was 2.2% of GDP in 2013 and is worsening. The National Treasury expects the current account deficit to remain around 6%, in line with the IMF forecast of 6.1% for the next two years. The country’s balance has been attributed to more expensive imports due to a depreciating rand and lower demand in traditional markets.

Although a depreciating rand would normally translate to more exports, since minerals account for around 60% of exports and commodities volumes are not sensitive to changes in the rand, exports have not been boosted. Exports of manufactured goods increased 13.4% in 2013, but were highly concentrated in a few areas such as motor vehicles and parts, iron and steel, and chemicals. Mining exports rose 9.1% and Chinese demand helped push iron ore exports up 20%, although gold exports fell 10.5%. Intermediate goods still dominated imports, but their share has declined over the years to below 40%. Meanwhile, consumption goods have seen rising demand, and now account for around 25% of imports.

Major Player

China, a major commodity consumer and importer, has been vital to the health of South Africa’s exports. Excluding gold, China was among South Africa’s top export destinations, accounting for 11.8% of total exports in 2013. Over the last decade, South Africa’s exports to China have grown at a CAGR of nearly 33%, compared to a total exports CAGR of 11%, while imports from China have grown at a CAGR of 24%, compared to a total imports CAGR of 13%. Exports to Europe, the second-ranked export destination, fell from nearly 32% to around 25% over the last decade, while exports to China increased from 1.5% to 11.8%. Meanwhile, over the same period imports from Europe dropped from 45.3% to 30.6% and Chinese imports grew from 5.2% to 14.3%. Over the last five years, South Africa’s trade surplus with the EU has turned into a deficit, with European-bound exports largely consisting of high-end finished goods, including processed commodities and manufactured products.

The government has targeted annual exports growth of 6%, comparable to the middle-income average of 6.4%, but exports have only been growing at 0.6% per year since 2000. South African exports are underperforming in all categories when compared to its BRICS peers, according to a World Bank study on export competitiveness released in 2014 covering South Africa’s 21,000 exporters. Catriona Purfield, the World Bank’s lead economist for South Africa, told OBG, “93% of the value of exports comes from around 1000 super firms. These super firms represent only 5% of all exporters, and each makes around 75-100 products in bulk, amounting to $400m in annual exports for each one. This is in contrast to a median firm, which earns $29,000 from annual exports. The dominance of super firms held across all sectors, except textiles, and this high of a concentration is unusual among South Africa’s peers, with only Chile coming close.”

Taking out minerals, which make up more than half of South Africa’s exports, the World Bank also found that exports are concentrated in high-tech rather than labour-intensive sectors. For example, the mining equipment sector exports highly specialised goods with high technology content. This is problematic for job creation. The World Bank report concluded that in addition to this high degree of concentration, traditional exporters have begun to lose some dynamism and competitiveness and that “new, high-value products have not emerged at the scale needed to replace them”.

Agreements

South Africa benefits from a strong network of trade agreements with a number of major partners and blocs, both within the region and further afield. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which the country is a member, is nearing the end of a seven-year negotiation towards an agreement with the EU whereby SADC members will gain greater access to agricultural goods. SADC has had its own free trade agreement (FTA) since 2006, with 12 out of 15 members signed up, including South Africa. Regional trade among SADC members has more than quadrupled since 2000. SADC, the East African Community, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa are also in talks towards an African “grand” FTA that would include 26 countries in the three trading blocs and a combined market size of 600m people. A 2011 roadmap laid out a path that could see FTA adoption in 2016.

Additionally, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a mechanism by which certain categories of goods can be exported from some 40 African countries to the US duty free. It was launched in 2000, and following a couple of extensions it is due to expire in 2015. Rob Davies, the South African minister of trade and industry, called for a 15-year extension so that manufacturers can plan better. Excluding oil exports, which account for roughly 85% of US imports under AGOA, South Africa is the largest exporter to the US under the agreement. After Nigeria and Angola, which predominantly export oil to the US, South Africa is AGOA’s third-largest beneficiary overall, and exports mainly vehicles and parts, iron and steel, and fruit and nuts. South Africa’s exports to the US have doubled since AGOA was launched in 2000, and reached $8.5bn in 2013, compared to $7.3bn of imports from the US.

South Africa joined the BRICS bloc in 2010. In 2013 the country’s trade with other BRICS nations was R380.4bn ($36.02bn), up 27.5% from 2012. It also cancelled bilateral investment treaties with 12 European countries in late 2013 in favour of comprehensive investment legislation through the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill. While the legal change did not appear to immediately hurt investment, the main complaint from trading partners is that the new legislation removes the recourse to international jurisdiction to resolve disputes. Freemantle thinks that it is irrelevant, arguing, “South Africa has a sound and sophisticated legal system.”

Inequality Persists

In the two decades since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s economy has made significant progress in terms of allowing for a more equitable provision of wealth – no small task given the high level of concentration of capital and assets in the years leading up to 1994. However, while South Africa’s living standard measures are showing a positive redistribution from year to year, South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world, with a Gini coefficient of 0.7. More than 16m people are recipients of government grants in a country where the poverty level hovers around 40%.

However, there have been a number of reforms aimed at accelerating the rate of inclusive growth, and ensuring that gains are translated to all income and racial segments. Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) is a government policy to enhance the economic participation of South Africa’s black population, who were marginalised in the apartheid era before 1994. The policy is applied as an incentive, meaning that entities are not penalised for not adopting BBBEE, but will be less likely to win government contracts. BBBEE has its legal basis in the 2003 BEE Act, under which businesses are rated on a scorecard based on certain elements such as ownership, management and skills development, each of which carries a specified weighting.

The BEE Act and its codes were amended in 2013 to limit fronting and increase the black ownership requirement to 25%, and the government is seeking to make more changes, including amendments to legislation, such as the preferential procurement policy. In August 2014 the government announced a plan to create 100 black industrialists within three years, and said 75% of government procurement will go to black industrialists.

Corporate remuneration policy has been a hot topic, given public outrage at discrepancies between the highest paid and lowest paid workers in companies. A report by South Africa’s Mergence Investment Managers released in 2014 found that CEOs of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies earn on average 140 times more than their average workers. To put this in context, South Africa has the fifth-largest pay gap in the world, although the disparity is still significantly lower than in the US.

“Current levels of executive remuneration are not sustainable,” said Cas Coovadia, managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa. The mining sector and others are reviewing pay practices, according to Ballim, who said that Standard Bank itself has conducted a review and modified its own remuneration policies.

Governmental Goals

The government’s economic development strategy has been articulated through a number of initiatives laid out by the National Planning Commission (NPC). It was set up in 2010, and the following year the commission released the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP) – a document encompassing the country’s successes and challenges and laying out a roadmap. The NDP was endorsed by the government at the African National Congress’ 2012 Mangaung conference. Central to the NDP is a vision to reduce inequality, create jobs and promote inclusive growth. Among its key economic targets are minimum annual GDP growth of 5%, creating 5m jobs by 2020 and 11m jobs by 2030, and bringing unemployment down to 6% from the current 25.5%. Socio-economic goals by 2030 include reducing the poverty rate from around 40% to zero, improving the Gini coefficient from 0.7 to 0.6, doubling per capita incomes and improving electricity access from 70% to 95%.

Meeting those targets will be tricky, given not only the exogenous pressures South Africa faces, but domestic constraints on manufacturing inputs. Khulekani Mathe, acting head of the NPC secretariat, said, “The NPC has been advising the government on an implementation framework.” The Medium-Term Strategic Framework breaks the NDP down into a five-year span running from 2014 through 2019, with targets, roles and timeframes. There are 14 outcomes that focus on rural development, land reform, job creation, inclusive growth and social services, among other goods. The framework was approved by the Cabinet in mid-2014, and key targets through 2019 include bringing unemployment down to 14%, increasing investment to 25% of GDP and adding 10,000 MW of power generation capacity.

Furthermore, in mid-2014 the government announced Operation Phakisa, an economic development programme modelled on Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology, in order to fast-track NDP implementation. The first phase of the plan will target maritime activity, which includes fisheries, marine transport, and offshore oil and gas exploration. These areas have the potential to add R177bn ($16.76bn) to the economy and to create as many as 1m direct jobs, according to President Jacob Zuma. By comparison, in 2010 maritime industries generated R54bn ($5.11bn) and were responsible for 316,000 jobs.

Outlook

South Africa is expected to ride out the turbulence of recent years by 2015, although it will require adroit manoeuvring on behalf of the government in terms of both managing inflation and stoking demand, as well as boosting exports and revenues. Labour relations remain fraught, and strikes have, as 2014 has demonstrated, an outsized impact on output, but better dialogue could help avoid supply disruptions and ensure productivity improvements. Exogenous pressures, including China’s slowing growth and the tapering of quantitative easing in the US, could curb activity further, but if South Africa can address its domestic structural issues it should be able to ride out any challenges in the future.

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