South Africa’s foreign trade balance swings into $41mn surplus in March

By bne IntelliNews April 30, 2015

South Africa recorded a foreign trade surplus of ZAR482.5mn ($40.8mn) in March, reversing a deficit of ZAR8.72bn in February (revised from an initial estimate of ZAR8.48bn), thanks to a surge in exports, preliminary data from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) showed.

The country’s exports rose 19.3% m/m to ZAR91.34bn in March, driven up mainly by a 37.8% jump in exports of precious metals and stones, a 25.1% growth in machinery and electronics exports, a 15.5% rise in base metals exports, a 12.6% increase in exports of vehicles and transport equipment, and an 8.3% rise in mineral products exports.

At the same time, imports grew 6.5% m/m to ZAR90.86bn chiefly due to a 29.1% rise in imports of vehicles and transport equipment and a 10.7% expansion in imports of machinery and electronics, whereas vegetable imports plunged 41.5%.

For the first quarter of the year, South Africa’s trade gap totalled ZAR32.62bn, compared with a shortfall of ZAR27.22bn for the same period last year. Exports fell 2.5% y/y to ZAR234.8bn, while imports edged down 0.2% y/y to ZAR267.4bn.

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