March 29, 2018 / 9:56 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Namibia drops into recession as construction, retail slump

(Adds detail, context)

WINDHOEK, March 29 (Reuters) - Namibia is in recession after its economy contracted in the final two quarters of last year, dragged down by sectors like construction and retail, the statistics office said on Thursday.

The southern African country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 1.0 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter after a 1.0 percent drop in the third quarter.

For 2017 as a whole GDP fell 0.8 percent versus growth of 0.7 percent in 2016.

The statistics office said construction contracted partly because of a drop in investment in mining, while hotels and restaurants also performed weakly.

Agriculture and mining output both grew.

Namibia’s economy is closely linked to that of its neighbour, South Africa. It is a major producer of diamonds and also mines uranium, zinc and gold.

Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Namibia’s credit rating to “junk” status last year, citing weaker-than-forecast fiscal outcomes. (Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa Writing by Alexander Winning Editing by Joe Brock)

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