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This update – the 42nd of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. Concerning the economy in its totality, Stats SA released gross domestic product (GDP) statistics for Q1 this week, indicating a decent growth of ↑4,6% in the first quarter of 2021. Nevertheless, this figure changes to ↑1,1% q/q (seasonally adjusted) and ↓3.2% y/y (unadjusted) in the big picture. With a new bout of load-shedding further crippling the economy this week, it has become paramount that South Africa makes the best of the economic recovery by getting its house in order.

Pandemic-wise, this week’s newly reported COVID-19 infections in South Africa have increased significantly once more to an alarming 5 960 infections per day this week (↑37% from last week’s average of 4 342). Consequently, the total number of cases recorded in the country now stands at ~1,722 million6, with a death toll of 57 410 (up by 645). Perhaps an even more alarming figure is the total number of active cases, now standing more than 70 000, as the infection rate is rapidly increasing in the now evident third wave. In absolute terms, South Africa has again moved up a spot to 19th place globally, having overtaken the Netherlands in the past week. Worldwide, more than 175 million cases have now been recorded, with a total of 3,8 million people losing their lives to the virus. In addition, a total of 2,3 billion vaccine doses have now been administered worldwide7, whereas South Africa continues to linger behind at some ~1,62 million vaccine doses. In essence, as emphasized in preceding reports, the country urgently needs to increase the rollout programme.

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