Trade Deficit narrows, but still higher than 2013

The shortfall on South Africa’s trade account narrowed sharply to ZAR 2.91bn in September from a revised ZAR 16.75bn in August, as the import bill nearly matched that of exports, data from the South African Revenue Bank (SARB) showed today. This figure includes trade data between South Africa and Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland (BLNS countries),” spokesperson Adrian Lackay said in a statement. Exports in September rose by 18.2 to ZAR 90.79bn and imports by 0.2% to ZAR 93.71bn.

The September data brings the cumulative deficit for the year to ZAR 73.74bn, compared with a ZAR 63.07bn gap over the same period in 2013. Precious metals and stones exports increased by ZAR 4.84bn, mineral products ZAR 3.91bn, vehicles and transport equipment ZAR 2.07bn and chemical products ZAR 1.04bn. Base metal exports increased by R883m, machinery and electronics R875m, while other unclassified exports increased by R606m. Vegetable product exports dropped by R 695m. Meanwhile, vegetable product imports increased by R1.3bn, chemical products R631m, base metals R548m, and mineral products increased by R542m. The import of equipment components dropped by R901m, vehicles and transport equipment R1.13bn, and machinery and electronics by R1.48bn.

South Africa recorded a R16.62bn trade surplus with Africa, having exported goods worth a total of R28.2bn and imported goods worth R11.57bn. This was a 48.4% increase in comparison to the R11.20bn surplus recorded in August. Trade with the Americas registered an R805m deficit, while trade with Asia showed an R18.13bn deficit. Trade with Europe saw a R5.12bn deficit, while trade with Oceania registered a R169m deficit.

If trade to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland was excluded from South Africa’s trade data, the country would have registered a trade deficit of ZAR 12.64bn.

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