R9.47bn trade surplus recorded for March

30 April 2018 - 17:12 By Sunita Menon

SA’s trade balance improved to reflect a surplus in March‚ following the biggest deficit ever recorded in January.

February’s figures were also revised to show a deficit‚ from the surplus that was originally reported.

According to the South African Revenue Service (SARS)‚ SA recorded a trade surplus of R9.47bn in March‚ a little lower than the surplus of R11.81bn seen in the same period a year ago.

The trade statistics indicate the balance of SA’s international trade. A surplus occurs when the value of SA’s exports exceeds that of its imports.

Analysts expected a surplus after the seasonal effect in January‚ where the result of many exporters being closed for the festive season‚ wore off. A Trading Economics consensus had forecast a surplus of R3.7bn.

The March surplus is attributable to exports of R98.28bn and imports of R88.81bn.

The year-to-date trade deficit of R18.63bn is a vast deterioration when compared to the surplus in the same period in 2017 of R4.22bn.

Imports for the year to date of R287.40bn are 9.1% higher than those recorded in the first quarter of 2017.

Exports decreased from December 2017 to January 2018 by R23.52bn (22.6%) while imports increased by R19.45bn (21.9%).

February 2018’s trade surplus was revised downwards by R1.03bn from the previous month’s preliminary surplus of R430m to a revised deficit of R600m.