Last year, agricultural output grew +17.7%, assisted thither, says the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) by strong output in sub-sectors which include field crops, livestock and horticulture. Quarter-on quarter, it was even more impressive, at +37.5% for the fourth quarter, way ahead of Agbiz’s predictions of 20%. And exports punched through the $10bn mark for the first time, rising +15% year-on-year with strong performances in fruits, beverages, spirits, and vegetables. And spirit vegetables. Moving on to the rest of the economy, we reported last week that GDP grew no less than 3.1% for the final quarter, and a better than expected 1.3% for the year. Now – wait for it – it turns out that we were never in a recession last year at all! This after a revision to 2016’s final quarter. And speaking of revisions, given our stronger than expected economy, rookie Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has said that we may have to revise next year’s projected number of +1.5% up just a tad, in the expectations of better days to come.
Comment: This is all a bit vague to be honest. And we’ll breathe a modest sigh of relief when the economy starts growing ahead of the population (at +1.6% year on year). But right now, we’ll take whatever we can get.