WCape economy blooms as fruit output soars
Cape Town - June was the second successive month of growth shown by the Western Cape barometer's growth index, after having been in the red for 18 successive months.
The growth index was 3.9% up compared with a year ago, at 121.2 index points.
Economists.co.za economist Mike Schüssler, who compiles the barometer for Sake24, says agriculture was one of the Western Cape sectors that recovered strongly.
The agricultural index rose by 18.7% year on year, by 8.6% compared with May, and over the three months to June by 19.4% compared with the previous three months.
Wine production was 12.6% up and fruit production 29.1% higher than a year ago.
A partial explanation for the fruit industry's sharp improvement was the Transnet strike in May – which meant that a lot of food could be exported only in June. This can also be seen from the South African Revenue Service’s latest trade figures, which reflect increased citrus exports in June.
Another surprise in the latest barometer is the construction index, which rose 4.5% and 2.3% on a monthly and three-monthly basis respectively, while Schüssler had expected it to continue declining. But the index is still 8% down on a year ago.