NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Real growth in South African trade will be weak in 2016, but we anticipate a modest improvement in 2017. In nominal terms, 2017 will also bring an improvement, as the value of trade will return to growth after contraction from 2012 to 2016. Greater trade volumes will support the freight transport sector, although companies will remain under pressure to stay profitable while real GDP growth is weak. Real GDP growth did return to positive territory in Q2 following a Q1 contraction, but the expansion rate will remain lacklustre. Latest Updates And Forecasts
- Consumer demand in South Africa will remain weak over the next several years, weighing on the intermodal transport of containerised consumer goods on the country's roads. Nevertheless, following a contraction in 2015 we anticipate a return to positive territory in 2016 and that growth will remain positive through the remainder of our medium-term forecast period to 2020, bolstered by ongoing investment in the road network.
- Despite the fact that the South African mining sector will remain under pressure, with coal in particular set to struggle in the near term, we anticipate that volumes transported on the country's rail network will return to growth in 2016 following a slight 2015 contraction, and that the return to growth will be consolidated in 2017. Mineral volumes transported by Transnet Freight Rail stayed positive in 2015 despite the mining sector's troubles, and we anticipate that this trend will continue, especially as there is ongoing investment in developing the network and improving links to export terminals.
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