South Africa Trade Surplus Higher than Expected


South Africa trade surplus increased to ZAR 10.67 billion in June of 2017 from a downwardly revised ZAR 7.22 billion surplus in May, beating market expectations of a ZAR 8.4 billion surplus. Imports slumped 4.2 percent while exports declined at a slower 0.6 percent. Considering the first six months of the year, exports jumped 4.7 percent while imports went down 1.4 percent, shifting the country's trade balance into a ZAR 27.67 billion surplus from a ZAR 5.042 billion gap in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the previous month, imports declined to ZAR 91.46 billion from ZAR 95.51 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of mineral products (-31 percent); machinery and electronics (-2 percent) and textiles (-11 percent). On the other hand, imports rose for vegetables (27 percent) and vehicles and transport equipment (21 percent). 

Exports fell to ZAR 102.14 billion from ZAR 102.73 billion, due to lower shipments of mineral products (-16 percent); base metals (-6 percent);  chemical products (-8 percent); wood pulp and paper (-16 percent); live animals (-14 percent); machinery and electronics (-2 percent) and plastic and rubber (-6 percent). In contrast, sales went up for precious metals and stones (11 percent), vegetables (33 percent) and vehicles and transport equipment (18 percent). 

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country'd trade gap widened to ZAR 0.549 billion from a ZAR 0.378 billion gap in May. However, the trade deficit fell to ZAR 18.19 billion in the forst six months of 2017 from a ZAR 56.41 billion shortfall in the same period of 2016. 

South African Revenue Service | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
7/31/2017 12:32:10 PM