South Africa enters second recession in two years

South Africa has entered its second recession in two years, data showed on Tuesday (March 3) as Africa's most advanced economy continues to flounder.

Statistics South Africa said the economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of last year - led by declines in transport, construction, electricity and retail.

That followed a 0.8% contraction in the third quarter.

Recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction - and it also occured in the first half of 2018.

South Africa has struggled to emerge from an economic slump in the two years since Cyril Ramaphosa came to power, promising sweeping reforms.

Amid power cuts and falling business and consumer confidence, low growth has piled pressure on state coffers and raised the risk of deeper credit downgrades.

Unemploymeent is at its highest level in more than a decade, and living costs are rising.

The Treasury has cut 2020 economic growth forecast to 0.9%.