South Africa Trade Surplus Narrows in August


South Africa trade surplus decreased to ZAR 5.94 billion in August of 2017 from an upwardly revised 9.33 billion surplus in July, but beating market expectations of a ZAR 3.2 billion surplus. Exports increased 11 percent while imports advanced at a faster 16.3 percent. Considering the January to August period, exports increased 5.8 percent and imports decreased 2.1 percent, shifting the country's trade balance into a ZAR 43.5 billion surplus from a ZAR 13.7 billion gap in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the previous month, exports increased to ZAR 103.4 billion from ZAR 93.1 billion, led by higher shipments of mineral products (21 percent); precious metals and stones (20 percent); base metals (12 percent); machinery and electronics (12 percent) while those of vehicles and transport equipment fell 17 percent. Major destinations for sales were China (9.9 percent); the US (8.1 percent); Germany (6.8 percent); Japan (4.7 percent) and Botswana (4.6 percent).

Imports advanced to ZAR 97.4 billion from ZAR 83.8 billion, due to higher purchases of mineral products (65 percent); prepared foodstuffs (36 percent); textiles (27 percent); original equipment components (29 percent) and machinery and electronics (11 percent). Imports came mostly from China (21.3 percent of total imports); Germany (14.1 percent); the US (7.8 percent); India (5.6 percent) and Saudi Arabia (5.2 percent).

Excluding trade with neighboring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade deficit of ZAR 1.9 billion in August compared to a ZAR 2.6 billion surplus in July.

South African Revenue Service |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
9/29/2017 1:44:11 PM