South Africa Records Second Straight Trade Surplus in April

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa recorded a second straight surplus on its trade balance in April as imports of textiles and base metals dipped.

The 1.14 billion-rand ($91 million) surplus compares with previous month’s revised 9.3 billion-rand positive balance, the Pretoria based South African Revenue Service said in an emailed statement Thursday.

The surplus relieves pressure on Africa’s most industrialized economy’s current account, the broadest gauge of traded goods and services. The rand has strengthened more than 5 percent since Cyril Ramaphosa took over as leader of the nation’s ruling party in December, boosting investor sentiment and lowering the cost of imports.

The median estimate of six economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 4.7 billion-rand surplus. The positive balance was 4.94 billion a year earlier. South Africa had a record-high shortfall of 27.1 billion rand in January.

Here are some highlights from the statement:

  • Exports fell 9.8 percent to 88.5 billion rand compared with a month earlier
  • Imports decreased 1.6 percent to 87.4 billion rand
  • Exports of vehicles and transport equipment recorded the biggest drop, falling 19 percent from a month earlier
  • The trade deficit for the year to date is 17.6 billion rand compared with a surplus of 8.5 billion rand a year earlier

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