Trade surplus shrinks, with both imports and exports falling
SA’s trade balance came in worse than expected on Wednesday, when the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced a surplus of R5.08bn for April.
The year-to-date surplus of R9.89bn compares with a year-to-date deficit of R26.39bn a year ago.
Exports fell 9.2% from March to R91.78bn. Imports were also lower, falling to R86.7bn.
The surplus compares with a revised March surplus of R11.28bn. It was previously reported as R11.44bn.
The Bloomberg consensus was for a surplus of R7.4bn while Trading Economics forecast one of R5.5bn.
While the surplus is positive for the current account, it is not necessarily good news for the economy, with many commentators saying it points to depressed activity — borne out by the fact that both imports and exports were lower in April than in March.