South Africa's economy slowed sharply to show 0.9-percent growth in the first quarter, official data showed on Tuesday, as the powerhouse in the African economy struggles to regain momentum.
Growth of gross domestic product (GDP) slumped below expectations from 2.1 percent at the end of last year, with a 1.2 percent fall of output by manufacturing industry, data from Statistics South Africa showed.
"We were looking at 1.9 percent," said Nicky Weimar, Nedbank senior economist.
"Obviously we are extremely disappointed."
Maintenance shutdowns in notably petroleum and other industries contributed to the negative 1.2-percent growth in manufacturing, said Stats SA's Gerhardt Bouwer.
"There were a few weeks they stopped for maintenance," he told AFP.
The figures raise concern amid the economy's tepid outlook.
Last week the central bank kept the main interest at 5.0 percent.
The rate-setting committee was "increasingly concerned" over the economy's "deteriorating outlook", South African Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus said announcing the rate.
Inflation hovers at 5.9 percent just shy of the bank's six percent-threshold, but is predicted to break through the target by the third quarter this year.
The weakness of the rand -- which is at its lowest level in four years -- is also putting pressure in prices, making imports more expensive.
The South African economy, the biggest in Africa, grew by 2.5 percent in 201