Increased exports sees March trade deficit drop

South Africa recorded a trade deficit of R5.5-billion for its trade with non-Southern African Customs Union trading partners in March, after a R7.5-billion deficit in February, according to the South African Revenue Service’s customs and excise figures released on Monday.

A survey of economists by I-Net Bridge had forecast a deficit of R5-billion.

Forecasts among six economists ranged from a R6-billion deficit to a R2.4-billion surplus.

There was an increase in exports of R5.1-billion (9%) to R61.3-billion and an increase in imports of R3.1-billion (4.8%) to R66.8-billion.

Customs and excise reported that the reduced trade deficit of R5.5-billion in March was mainly due to increased exports of mineral products, products of the chemicals or allied industries and precious and semi-precious stones, and decreased imports of animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products.

The cumulative deficit for 2012 is R26.3-billion compared to a cumulative deficit of R5.1-billion in 2011.

In exports, mineral products increased by R3.488-billion or 25%; products of the chemical or allied industries increased by R736-million or 26%; precious and semi-precious stones and metals increased by R460-million — or 4% — and base metals and articles thereof decreased by R490 million or — 6%.

In imports, machinery and electrical appliances increased by R1.554-billion (12%); mineral products increased by R679-million (4%); vehicles, aircraft and vessels increased by R485-million (8%); original equipment components increased by R282-million (7%); and animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products decreased by R365-million (47%). — I-Net Bridge

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