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SA records R5.22bn trade surplus for February
SA records R5.22bn trade surplus for February

SA records R5.22bn trade surplus for February

ECONOMIC NEWS - Apr 3rd 2017, 09:23

SA recorded a R5.22bn trade surplus in February after a revised deficit of R11.22bn in January, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Friday. 

This beat a Bloomberg consensus for a R1bn surplus.

Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said it was difficult to forecast trade data as it was not seasonally adjusted and was "prone to revisions".

January’s deficit was revised upwards by R0.41bn to R11.22bn.

SARS attributed the February surplus to exports of R87.79bn compared to imports of R82.57bn. Exports increased by R7.57bn (9.4%) from January to February while imports decreased by R8.86bn (9.7%).

Lings said the sharp decline in imports reflected a combination of factors including weak domestic demand, including "a lack of domestic fixed investment activity by the private sector".

He said SA’s trade balance had generally improved over the past year.

"Higher international commodity prices have provided welcome relief to SA’s balance of payments in 2016 and early 2017. Unfortunately, the slowdown in import growth largely reflects the weakness in the South African economy, rather than an improvement in import substitution."

The year-to-date trade balance deficit of R6bn for the first two months of this year was a R23.62bn improvement on the deficit for the first two months of 2016, SARS said.

Alluding to President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, Lings said upcoming economic data may be overshadowed by "recent political developments".

In February, exports were boosted by the following categories:

• Vehicles and transport equipment (R4.753bn or 79%)

• Machinery and electronics (R1.408bn or 25%)

• Base metals (R996m or 10%).

In imports, the largest drops came in:

• Machinery and electronics (R3.885bn or 18%)

• Chemical products (R998m or 10%) and

• Plastics and rubber (R989m or 22%)
© BusinessLIVE MMXVII 

Read more about: trade | sars | sa economy

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