South Africa's Trade Balance Returns to a Surplus in March

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s trade balance returned to a surplus in March as exports of metals and vegetables climbed, while imports of minerals products declined.

The 9.5 billion-rand ($764 million) surplus compares with February’s revised deficit of 600 million-rand and a record 27 billion rand shortfall in January, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an emailed statement Monday. The median estimate of five economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 3.8 billion-rand surplus. The positive balance was 11.5 billion rand a year earlier.

Here are some highlights from the statement:

  • Imports fell 2 percent to 88.8 billion rand from a month earlier as mineral products, which includes oil, dropped 14 percent
  • Exports increased by 9.2 percent to 98.3 billion rand, with shipments of mineral products, precious metals and vegetable products rising
  • The trade deficit for the year so far is 18.6 billion rand, compared with a surplus of 4.2 billion rand a year earlier

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