South Africa facts

South Africa facts: Economy

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This guide on South African country facts looks at the factors that make up South Africa's economy.

Overview of South Africa's economy

South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that is the 18th largest in the world; and modern infrastructure supporting a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. At the end of 2007, South Africa began to experience an electricity crisis. State power supplier Eskom encountered problems with aged plants, necessitating 'load-shedding' cuts to residents and businesses in the major cities. Growth was robust from 2004 to 2007 as South Africa reaped the benefits of macroeconomic stability and a global commodities boom, but began to slow in the second half of 2007 due to the electricity crisis and the subsequent global financial crisis' impact on commodity prices and demand. GDP fell nearly 2 percent in 2009. Unemployment remains high and outdated infrastructure has constrained growth. Daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era – especially poverty, lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups, and a shortage of public transportation. South Africa's former economic policy was fiscally conservative, focusing on controlling inflation, and attaining a budget surplus. The current government largely follows the same prudent policies, but must contend with the impact of the global crisis and is facing growing pressure from special interest groups to use state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas and to increase job growth. More than one-quarter of South Africa's population currently receives social grants.
    
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$527.5 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$512.2 billion (2009 est.)
$521.6 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH
    SOUTH AFRICA, Cape Town: Finish President Tarja Halonen (L) speaks next to South African President Jacob Zuma (R) during the UN High Level Global Sustainability Panel (GSP) tasked with presenting by the end of the year proposals to eradicate poverty and preserving the environment, on February 25, 2011 in Cape Town

GDP (official exchange rate): $354.4 billion (2010 est.)
    
GDP – real growth rate:
3 percent (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
-1.8 percent (2009 est.)
3.7 percent (2008 est.)
    
GDP – per capita (PPP):

 
$10,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
$10,400 (2009 est.)
$10,700 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
    
GDP - composition by sector:
 

agriculture: 3 percent
industry: 31.2 percent
services: 65.8 percent (2010 est.)
    
Labor force:
 
17.32 million economically active (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
    
Labor force - by occupation:
 
agriculture: 9 percent
industry: 26 percent
services: 65 percent (2007 est.)
    
Unemployment rate:
 
23.3 percent (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
24 percent (2009 est.)
    
Population below poverty line:
 
50 percent (2000 est.)
    
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
 
lowest 10 percent: 1.3 percent
highest 10 percent: 44.7 percent (2000)
    
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
 
65 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 2
59.3 (1994)
    
Investment (gross fixed):
 
19.9 percent of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88

Public debt:
 
33.2 percent of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
29.7 percent of GDP (2009 est.)
    
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
 
4.5 percent (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
7.2 percent (2009 est.)
    
Central bank discount rate:
 
7 percent (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 37
11.5 percent (31 December 2008)
    
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
 
11.71 percent (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
15.13 percent (31 December 2008 est.)

PHOTO WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
 Arnot Power Station, Middelburg, South Africa


Stock of narrow money:

 
$65.87 billion (31 December 2010 est)
country comparison to the world: 41
$52.04 billion (31 December 2009 est)
    
Stock of broad money:
 
$256.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
$199.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    
Stock of domestic credit:
 
$328.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
$255.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    
Market value of publicly traded shares:
 
$704.8 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 18
$491.3 billion (31 December 2008)
$833.5 billion (31 December 2007)
    
Agriculture – products:
 
corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
    
Industries:
 
mining (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:
 
3 percent (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
    
Electricity – production:
 
240.3 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
    
Electricity – consumption:
 
215.1 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
    
Electricity – exports:
 
14.16 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    
Electricity – imports:
 
10.57 billion kWh (2008 est.)
   
Oil – production:
 
191,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
    
Oil – consumption:

 
579,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
    
Oil – exports:
 
128,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
    
Oil – imports:
 
490,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
    
Oil – proved reserves:
 

15 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
    
Natural gas – production:
 
3.25 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
    
Natural gas – consumption:
 
6.45 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
    
Natural gas – exports:

 
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
    
Natural gas – imports:

 
3.2 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
    
Natural gas – proved reserves:
 

27.16 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
    
Current account balance:
 

-$16.51 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
-$11.3 billion (2009 est.)
    
Exports:
 
$76.86 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
$66.54 billion (2009 est.)
    
Exports - commodities:
 
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
    
Exports - partners:

 
China 10.34 percent, US 9.19 percent, Japan 7.59 percent, Germany 7.01 percent, UK 5.54 percent, Switzerland 4.72 percent (2009)
    
Imports:
 
$77.04 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$66.01 billion (2009 est.)
    
Imports – commodities:
 
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
    
Imports – partners:

 
China 17.21 percent, Germany 11.24 percent, US 7.38 percent, Saudi Arabia 4.87 percent, Japan 4.67 percent, Iran 3.95 percent (2009)
    
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
 
$45.52 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$39.68 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    
Debt – external:

 
$80.52 billion (30 June 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
$73.84 billion (30 June 2009)
    
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
 
$83.08 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
$73.61 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
 

$53.38 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
$51.58 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    
Exchange rates:

 
rand (ZAR) per US dollar - 7.38 (2010), 8.4234 (2009), 7.9576 (2008), 7.05 (2007), 6.7649 (2006)

CIA Factbook / Expatica

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