Johannesburg - The synchronised global economic downturn has engulfed South Africa's economy and the pace of economic activity is expected to remain weak through the first half of 2009, said Moody's Economy.com on Friday.
"Forward-looking indicators for both the global economy and South Africa suggest that the economic environment is unlikely to improve in the coming months. The country's businesses are bracing for a protracted period of soft domestic and external demand by paring expansion and hiring plans. This response has heightened concerns about employment prospects," said the economists in a research note.
They add that with unemployment already running at around a quarter of the labour force, rising joblessness is a major threat to South Africa's outlook.
"The weaker employment outlook and mounting concerns about future income streams are expected to further restrain consumer spending in the coming months," they say.