South Africa October Trade Gap Swells to Biggest in 10 Months

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa trade deficit swelled to the biggest in 10 months in October because imports of vehicle equipment surged and exports of agricultural products declined.

The 5.5 billion-rand ($400 million) shortfall compares with the previous month’s revised 3.8 billion-rand deficit, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The median estimate of seven economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 5 billion-rand gap. The credit was 4.42 billion rand a year earlier.

Key Insights:

  • The deficit raises pressure on the current account of Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which is the broadest measure of traded goods and services. The rand has weakened more than 9 percent against the dollar this year, battering confidence even as President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to attract $100 billion in the country over five years.
  • The nation is a crude importer and gasoline prices surged to a record in October; imports of chemical products climbed by 2.5 billion from a month earlier.
  • Exports increased 8.5 percent from a month earlier to 122.3 billion rand, tempered by a 30 percent drop in the value of vegetable-product shipments.
  • Imports climbed 9.7 percent to 127.8 billion rand; inward-bound shipments of vehicle equipment rose the most, advancing 35 percent, or 3.2 billion rand.
  • The trade deficit for the year to date is 8.8 billion rand compared with a positive balance of 48.9 billion rand a year earlier.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.