South Africa’s growth hits four-year low due to strikes

Growth in South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, slowed to the slowest rate since a 2009 recession in the third quarter of the year, as a series of wage-related strikes at mines and factories hurt commercial activities.

According to data published by Statistics South Africa Tuesday, the country’s gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 0.7% in the period, down sharply from the 3.2% annualized expansion in the second quarter.

Apart from strikes that hit the construction and car industries, mining unrest caused substantial damage to the economy, causing forecasts for the year to be revised downwards from 2.7% to about 2%, the agency said.

South Africa’s central bank, facing weak domestic demand and a large output gap, has kept its main interest rate at a historically low 5% to boost growth since July 2012.