Macro Analysis

Macro Focus: South Africa’s fiscal litmus test

The macro outlook for South Africa does not look rosy. The country’s primary deficit soared to 10% of GDP in 2020 and it is expected to remain at high levels in the coming years, as the pandemic-related fiscal measures induced a strong “ratchet effect” on public expenditure.  As mentioned in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement issued by the Ministry of Finance in October 2020, “Options to stabilise the fiscus are becoming increasingly limited. Growth reforms are only expected to begin yielding results over the next several years, implying continued weakness in revenue collection over the period ahead. “ Public debt grew from 60% of GDP in 2019 to over 80% of GDP by the end of 2020.