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SA's trade deficit balloons

May 31 2013 16:29 Reuters, Sapa

(Pic: Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - South Africa's trade deficit widened to R15.02bn in April from R7.77bn in March due to increases in imports of mineral products, plastics and rubber, base metals and machinery, data showed on Friday. 

April exports rose by 3% to about R65bn while imports jumped 12.1% to R80bn, the South African Revenue Service said. 

Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a trade shortfall of R9.5bn.

Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging market economist of Nomura, said that exports were very strong and grew at 25.5% year-on-year, but imports jumped even more by 29.7%.

"Such a print means there is a risk now that the second quarter deficit actually doesn't come in from the Q1 peak and instead is sticky around or just below - 7%".

"The upside surprises to both exports and imports may be a result of increased mineral beneficiation but in reality the overall picture shows there is still an underlying weak external balance picture," he said.

The increase in the trade deficit was due to increases in imports of mineral products, plastics and rubber, base metals, machinery and electrical appliances and original equipment components.

The cumulative deficit for 2013 is R57.01bn compared with R36.62bn in 2012.

Trade highlights by category:

The March to April change (up by 3%) in exports of goods reflected increases mainly in:

  • Mineral products increased by R624m (4%); and,
  • Base metals and articles thereof increased by R771m (10%).

The March to April change (up by 12.1%) in imports of goods reflected increases mainly in:

  • Mineral products up by R3526m (22%);
  • Plastics and rubber and articles thereof up by R533m (20%);
  • Base metals and articles thereof up by R420m (11%);
  • Machinery and electrical appliances up by R3473m (21%); and,
  • Original equipment components up by R523m (10%).

Unaudited world zone results for March to April 2013 showed that with Asia, the deficit increased from R7.21bn in March 2013, to R 13.46bn in April 2013.

Exports increased by R2.49bn, to R24.92bn; and imports increased by R8.75bn to R38.38bn.

For Europe, the deficit increased from R8.07bn in March 2013, to R9.88bn in April 2013. Exports decreased by R1.17bn, to R15.02bn; and imports increased by R0.65bn, to R24.90bn.

For America, the deficit decreased from R1.62bn in March 2013, to R1.57bn in April 2013. Exports decreased by R0.79bn, to R 6.30bn; and imports decreased by R0.84bn, to R7.87bn.

For Africa, the surplus increased from R3.14bn in March 2013, to R4.52bn in April 2013. Exports increased by R1.16bn, to R12.06bn; and imports decreased by R0.22bn, to R7.54 bn.

For Oceania, the deficit increased from R0.49bn in March 2013, to R0.68bn in April 2013. Exports decreased by R0.10bn, to R 0.76bn; and imports increased by R0.09bn, to R1.44bn.

 - Reuters, Sapa

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south africa  |  rand  |  sa economy  |  trade deficit
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