Johannesburg - South Africa’s current account deficit is
likely to have swollen to 4.5% of GDP in the first quarter of this year from
3.6% the previous quarter, a Reuters poll showed.
The 10 economists surveyed forecast that the deficit, due to
be reported on Thursday, will have widened due mainly to reduced exports to
Europe - South Africa’s largest trading partner - which is struggling on
through a debt crisis.
“We are looking for quite a significantly wider trade
deficit on the quarter, largely on the back of a deteriorating trade balance,”
said Jeffrey Schultz, macro strategist at Absa Capital.
Fourteen economists saw inflation in Africa’s biggest
economy, due out on Wednesday, braking to 5.95% in May, just below the top of
the Reserve Bank’s 3% - 6% target band, from 6.10% the previous month.
On a month-on-month basis, the pace of rise in consumer
prices is forecast unchanged at 0.4% in May.
CPI has been posting lower prints in recent months, in line
with central bank predictions, and inflation looks likely to average around
6.0% for the second quarter, especially with relatively few price categories
analysed in May.
“May is a low survey month, so the main drivers are likely
to be food and fuel prices,” said Elize Kruger, economist at Kadd Capital.