SA records far bigger trade surplus than expected in November
SA recorded a trade surplus of R13.02bn in November, much higher than the consensus of R1.3bn, and a Trading Economics forecast of R4.65bn.
This was according to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) data released on Thursday, which showed that the country has achieved a surplus of R64.75bn so far this year, compared to a deficit of R11.22bn by the same time in 2016.
The November surplus was attributable to exports of R116.16bn and imports of R103.14bn. Exports in the year to date have grown by 7.6% compared to 2016, while imports were up by just 0.04%.
Last year in November, SA recorded a deficit of R1.24bn, with exports up 16.8% year on year, while imports gained 2.4%.
"October 2017’s trade balance surplus was revised downwards by R0.22bn from the previous month’s preliminary surplus of R4.56bn, to a revised surplus of R4.34bn," SARS said.
On a month-on-month basis, from October to November, imports increased by 3.3% and exports by 11.5%. The main month-on-month improvements in exports in November came from the following sectors: precious metals and stones, R3.265bn (21%); base metals, R2.197bn (19%); and mineral products, R2.073bn (7%).
Imports increased in the following categories: machinery and electronics, R1.809bn (7%); mineral products, R956m (7%); and wood pulp and paper, R663m (31%).