Statistics Agency revises 2019 real GDP contraction further down to -1.6%
The economy suffered a larger contraction last year than earlier estimated, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s recently published revised national accounts data for 2019.
The latest revisions show that real GDP contracted by 1.6% in 2019 compared to the earlier estimate of decrease of 1.1% published in the preliminary national accounts report of March 2020. The largest historical revisions were made in agriculture, forestry fishing manufacturing construction and wholesale retail trade industries.
Looking at the sectoral developments in 2019, the agricultural sector was the worst performing sector last year, contracting by 5.7% compared to growth of 3.3% in 2018. Severe drought devastated crops and decimated livestock, but the sector’s slump was mitigated by improved landings of demersal fisheries.
The industrial sector also performed poorly last year, with output dropping by 3.2% compared to growth of 6.3% in 2018. The 11.1 slump in the mining industry weighed the most on industrial activity. Mining output was hampered by the maintenance of a diamond mining vessel and low uranium production due to the decline in uranium prices.
The services sector declined by 0.1 last year compared to a decrease of 1.2% in 2018. The wholesale retail industry’s dismal decrease in output of 9.1 in 2019 offset the robust growth in information communication and financial insurance services.
Shelly Louw, Research Analyst at PSG Namibia said they expect a sharp bounce back in activity in the fourth quarter of 2020 as Covid 19 restrictions are lifted, “followed by a relatively slow recovery back to pre coronavirus crisis levels, as the expected lack of a medical breakthrough until the second half of 2021 will weigh on consumer confidence.”