Sunday, September 6, 2009

SA posts 3rd consecutive trade surplus

South Africa posted a trade surplus of R447 million for July, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) said on Monday.

"This is the third consecutive surplus since May 2009," Sars noted.

It said that between 2004 and 2008 there had never been three consecutive surpluses.

"There were two consecutive surpluses in 2004 and three surpluses in 2005 during April; June and December," Sars said.

Imports increased by R4.2 billion (10.54 percent) to R44 billion and exports increased by R1.4 billion (3.31 percent) to R44.4 billion, Sars said.

Most economists had forecast a mild deficit of R0.5 billion for July.

Economy likely to recover
South Africa's economy was likely to recover as the balance of trade improved, an economic analyst said on Monday.

Jaanre Fourie of Metropolitan Asset Managers was commenting on data released earlier on Monday by the SA Revenue Service showing South Africa had posted a trade surplus of R0.4 billion for July.

"Even though the trade surplus for July was smaller than in June, it was still the first time in six years that South Africa managed to post three consecutive months of trade surpluses," Fourie said.

Fourie said exports of mineral products and base metals were the biggest drivers of the increase.

"The trade balance has improved significantly in 2009 - the cumulative deficit for the year thus far is at R14.6 billion, compared with the R45.8 billion deficit posted over the same period one year ago," she said.

The current account deficit - which will be released this week - should reflect this improved trade performance, Fourie said.