SA’s trade deficit swells to R9,9bn in April
Jun 1st 2012, 11:05
Month records a 14,9% decrease in exports to R52,2bn, with exports of mineral products down 16%, and a 7,2% drop in imports to R62bn
South Africa recorded a trade deficit of R9,9bn for its trade with non-Southern African Customs Union trading partners in April‚ after a R5,5bn deficit in March‚ according to Customs and Excise figures released on Thursday.
A survey of seven economists had forecast a deficit of R4bn. Their forecasts ranged from a R7,5bn deficit to a R2bn deficit.
The month saw a decrease in exports of R9,2bn (14,9%) to R52,2bn, as well as a drop in imports of R4,8bn (7,2%) to R62bn.
Isaac Matshego, economist at Nedbank , said exports had taken a big knock in the latest trade data‚ which was worrying.
"It reflects weakness in global trade," he said. "The data do not paint a good picture for export growth or overall economic growth for this year."
Colen Garrow, economist at Meganomics, said the figure was shocking, despite trade numbers being generally volatile. "If you look at the trend, then this adds to the pressure on the rand," he said.
The higher deficit in April was mainly due to lower exports of mineral products‚ precious and semi-precious stones‚ base metals‚ machinery and electrical appliances, and vehicles‚ aircraft and vessels. Imports of mineral products and products of the chemicals or allied industries were also lower.
The cumulative deficit so far this year is R36,5bn, compared with a cumulative deficit of R7,5bn last year.
In exports, mineral products decreased by R2,8bn or 16%. Precious and semi-precious stones and metals decreased by R3,1bn, or 23%, base metals and articles thereof decreased by R853m, or 11%; machinery and electrical appliances decreased by R753m, or 14%; and vehicles, aircraft and vessels declined by R524m, or 10%.
Looking at imports, machinery and electrical appliances were up R866m, or 6%; mineral products rose R4,4bn, or 25%; vehicles, aircraft and vessels increased by R33m; original equipment components increased by R15m and products of the chemicals or allied industries decreased by R469m, or 8%.
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