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Economic Overview: State of the Durban Economy


The total gross value added (GVA) of Durban grew by R278 billion in 2018. This is a 0.5% increase from the 2017. In 2018, Durban experienced a technical recession, but had recovered by the close of the year. What were the various factors that led to this increase?

How has Durban’s economy fared
and what are the future projections?

Durban Economic Growth - A Quarterly Overview

KZN, 61% of which is made up by eThekwini, was the fastest growing province in the country (together with the Western Cape), recording a 2,1% annualised growth rate from the third to the fourth quarter of 2018.
- IHS Markit, 2019

The City exited the national technical recession in Q3 with a 3.4% annualised quarter to quarter growth rate, although in quarter to quarter growth terms, this was only a 0.8% increase in growth. In Q4 the annualised quarterly growth rate was 2.1%, while the quarter to quarter growth rate was actually less than in quarter 3, at 0.5%.

The transport and logistics sector was by far the largest contributor to the City’s growth, with close to half of the City’s q4 2.1% growth rate being from this sector. This was followed by the manufacturing sector, which was responsible for over a third to the City’s 2.1% growth, followed by the finance and business services sector.

An annualised growth of 2.1% is a drop from the 3,7% GDP growth rate recorded in the third quarter of 2018 in the City, and 3.4% in the province. However, this is still an improvement from the second quarter of 2018, where the country and all its provinces, as well as the City of Durban, had entered a technical recession (two consecutive quarters of negative quarter-on-quarter economic growth). It (q4 2018 performance) is significantly better than the country’s 3.2% contraction in growth in q1 2019.

Quarterly GDP Growth (%)
Source: IHS Global Insight, 2019 & Quantec, 2019


Durban’s recovery from the technical recession in q1 and q2 2018, and positive performance since then, was largely the result of the manufacturing, transport and logistics, and business services sectors. However following the reported national contraction in growth in 2019, it is expected that Durban’s growth may also have suffered in the new year.

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