SA records surprise R4.56bn trade surplus in October
Contrary to expectations, SA recorded another monthly trade account surplus in October.
According to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the country recorded a trade surplus of R4.56bn in October 2017 compared to a deficit of R3.21bn in the same period a year ago.
The Bloomberg consensus forecast was for a deficit of R5.5bn — which would have been the first time in 2017 that the trade account slipped into the red. Last week, economists said smaller trade surpluses in recent months, coupled with what was seasonally a stronger month for imports, suggested the trade account may have slipped back into deficit in October.
The October surplus was attributable to exports of R104.51bn and imports of R99.95bn. The exports were 17.7% higher than the R88.83bn recorded in October 2016, while imports were up 8.6% from the R92.04bn previously.
SA is likely to post a trade surplus for the year, which will continue to provide some support for the rand. September 2017’s trade balance surplus was revised upwards by R0.48bn from the previous month’s preliminary surplus of R4bn.
From January 1 2017 to October 31 2017, SA recorded a trade surplus of R51.62bn, compared to a deficit of R9.93bn over the same period a year ago.