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South Africa’s economy contracted to 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2016, due to a fall in mining and manufacturing production.

According to the country’s statistics office, the shrinkage in the two key sectors of the economy pulled growth into negative territory.

Figures from the agency indicate, the mining industry’s 11.5 percent drop in production was the main contributor to the economy’s slowdown, brought about by a fall in production of coal, gold and other metal ores, such as platinum and iron ore. While manufacturing dropped by 3.1 percent.

Overall, the economy grew by 0.3 percent last year compared to 1.5 percent in 2015.

Africa’s most industrialized economy faces the risk of being downgraded to junk status owing to weak economic growth after it got a reprieve last year.

The country is also struggling with a volatile political climate, falling commodity prices and a chronically high unemployment rate.

Source: Reuters.com

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