South Africa's economy grew more than expected in the first quarter, helped by a strong performance by manufacturing, data from the statistics agency showed on Tuesday.

Gross domestic product grew 1.9% in the first quarter in quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted terms and by 3.0% year-on-year unadjusted in the first three months of the year.

Economists had predicted 1.2% quarter-on-quarter growth and 1.7% year-on-year growth.

Statistics South Africa said manufacturing grew 4.9% quarter-on-quarter, while the trade, catering and accommodation category expanded 3.1% and agriculture, forestry and fishing 0.8%. Mining and quarrying contracted 1.1%.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been under pressure to lift the growth rate after unemployment hit record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa promised sweeping reforms after he took office in 2018, but COVID and persistent electricity cuts have constrained activity.



(Reporting by Alexander Winning Additional reporting by Anait Miridzhanian in Gdansk Editing by James Macharia Chege)