Exim News

Trade surplus of R11.44bn shows resilience - analyst

South Africa’s trade surplus for March 2017 improved by R5.2bn to R11.44bn from February. This is according to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) trade data for March 2017.

The year to-date trade balance surplus for the first quarter of 2017 is an improvement of R4.98bn compared to the R24.27bn deficit reported for the corresponding period in 2016.

This data includes trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS). The total exports came to R101.23bn, with imports at R89.79bn.

Karl Gotte, head of Standard Bank commercial banking explained that the first quarter of 2017 was off to a good start, but some sectors are still struggling.

Referring to the BankServ Africa Economic Transaction Index (BETI), which showed an improvement in domestic activity, as well as the latest producer price inflation (PPI) and stable inflation, Gotte said this showed domestic pricing pressures are easing.

“The anticipated effects of the recent downgrades may not be immediate,” he said.  “Businesses need to be cognisant of the recent dynamics in the economy but not react hastily as the economy has been showing a surprising resilience and deviating from popular predictions or industrial norms.”

He added that larger businesses would be more affected by both local and global market events, but there may be opportunities for these businesses to act as venture capitalists to help grow start-ups.

Exports increased 16% from February 2017 to March 2017 by R13.96 bn. Imports increased by R7.32bn or 8.9%, reported SARS.

For the quarter, exports had grown 8% to R268.68bn, from the value of R248.72bn reported in 2016. Imports however had declined 3.4% to R263.71bn over the past year.

The bulk of the exports are attributed to precious metals and stones, followed by vehicles and transport equipment and machinery and electronics.

The main imported goods are machinery and electronics and vehicles and transport equipment, among others.

The biggest export partner was Asia, with over R30bn worth of exported goods, followed by Africa with R27bn, then Europe with R26bn. Exports to America amounted to just over R8bn.

The biggest import partner was Asia, with R35bn worth of imported goods, followed by Europe with R32bn worth of goods.

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