Mar 1, 2016

South African growth weakens amid worst drought in 100 years

South Africa
Rene Vollgraff and Amogelang Mbatha
Photo: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg
Photo: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

The 2015-2016 record El Niño is the driving force behind many global droughts, but in a world made warmer by climate change, drought impacts are even worse.

The worst drought in more than a century cut South African farming output and hurt manufacturing, curbing growth in the continent’s second-largest economy to an annualized 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

The economy’s rebound from a recession in 2009 has struggled to gain traction as commodity prices slumped and growth in South Africa’s biggest export market, China, slowed. South Africa’s outlook has deteriorated since last year because of the drought, prompting Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last week to reduce his growth forecast for 2016 by almost half to 0.9 percent