South Africa’s economy shrank by more than half in the second quarter as business activity in the country ground to a halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the national statistics agency said.
“South Africa’s economy contracted by 51 percent in Q2 2020” compared with the same period of 2019, Statistics South Africa said in a statement.
The unprecedented contraction came after a strict lockdown, imposed on March 27, caused most economic activity to cease.
It was driven largely by steep declines in the construction, manufacturing and mining sectors, where activity shrank by up to 70 percent.
South Africa’s economy was already in recession, its second in two years, when it was hit by the virus and had shrunk by two percent during the first three months of this year.
The second-quarter contraction “dwarfs the annualised slowdown of 6.1 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis,” the statisticians said.