A surprising, but welcome forecast for end year economic growth from the CSO. Particularly surprising because it substantially deviates from by atleast two percentage points from the Budget forecast:
Economy expected to grow by 6.3%, CSO Bulletin, October 2009 :
Preliminary estimates of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) show that the Zambian economy is expected to grow by 6.3 percent in 2009. This is due to expected strong growth in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Mining and Quarrying; and Construction industries. In value terms, real GDP is expected to be K4,003.0 billion in 2009 compared to K3,765.4 billion in 2008. In nominal terms, the GDP is expected to increase to K64, 326.1 billion in 2009, from K55,078.8 billion in 2008.
Spurred by increased production of crops in the 2008/2009 agricultural season, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry is expected to grow by 7.1 percent in 2009, from 2.6 percent in 2008. The output of maize, the country’s main staple crop, is expected to reach 1.9 million metric tonnes from the 1.4 million metric tonnes produced in the 2007/2008 agricultural season.
The Mining and Quarrying industry, which grew by 2.4 percent in 2008, is expected to post a growth of 15.8 percent in 2009. This is largely due to the increase in Copper output. The production of Copper is expected to reach 666,000 metric tonnes in 2009 compared to the 575,000 metric tonnes recorded in 2008. Coal production, which had ceased in the previous years, resumed in 2009 and is expected to contribute to the growth in the industry. Stone Quarrying output is also expected to increase.
The Construction industry is expected to rebound to double digit growth in 2009, growing by 15.5 percent compared to 8.7 percent recorded in 2008. The commissioning of a second cement plant by one of the main cement producers in the country has led to increased production and equally higher sales of the commodity. Cement is one of the main inputs in housing and commercial construction.
However, some of the industries in the services sector are expected to post declines and slower growths compared to last year. The Hotels, Bars and Restaurants industry, which is largely driven by inbound tourism, is expected to decline by 14.5 percent in 2009 compared to the 5 percent growth realised in 2008.
Though the Transport and Communications industry is expected to post a marginal growth of 3.1 percent compared to the 15.8 percent growth in 2008, the Air Transport is expected to decline by 29.0 percent.
However, the Communications is expected to grow by 12.0 percent in 2009 compared to a growth of 21.1 percent in 2008. The Financial Institutions and Insurance industry is expected to grow by 5.0 percent in 2009 compared to 8.7 percent in 2008. The Community, Social and Personal Services industry is also expected to post a growth of 6.8 percent in 2009 which is lower than the 11.7 percent recorded in 2008.