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KZN growth helped by construction, transport

Mar 09 2012 07:00 Vida Booysen

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Bloemfontein - In certain respects the KwaZulu-Natal economy is performing better than that of other provinces.

This can be seen from the Sake24 and BoE Private Clients' KwaZulu-Natal Barometer, which rose 8.9% year-on-year (y/y) – and then by a whole 29.7% since January 2009.

Other than in the other provinces, the construction index (19.7% up y/y) is still growing, owing in particular to extensions to Durban harbour.

The province’s trade index (8.3% up on the year before) is also the best among the five provinces. This is owing to vehicle sales in particular, which were 14.9% up y/y.

The KwaZulu-Natal unemployment rate (19.3%) is also lower than the national average of 23.9%.

“Although growth began to level out by the middle of last year, the provincial economy is in no way losing steam,” said Mike Schüssler of Economists.co.za, who compiled the KwaZulu-Natal barometer.

Another positive factor is that the stress index has also been falling in recent months. This index measures how easy or difficult it is to do business in the province, and it declined 2.2% y/y and 16% since January 2009.

The number of passengers moving through airports rose 2.3% in January, and freight handling in ports was 1.1% up. But it was land transport in particular that contributed to the provincial transport index rising 16.2% y/y.

The only sector in which the province fell back slightly was financial, property and business services, which was 2.8% down y/y.

“The revival in the construction sector will probably also have a positive effect on the property sector within a few months,” said Schüssler.
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