April trade surplus only a quarter of that expected by economists
SA exported R1.14bn more than it imported in April, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) reported on Thursday.
April’s trade surplus fell short of the economists’ consensus of about R4bn, coming in at an eighth of March’s trade surplus of R9.3bn, which SARS revised down from the previously reported R9.47bn.
SARS reported April’s total exports of R88.5bn were 9.8% lower than those of March. Imports grew by 1.6% from the previous month, taking April’s total to R87.36bn.
Surpluses in March and April reduced SA’s trade deficit for the first four months of 2018 to R17.65bn, a sharp deterioration from a trade surplus of R8.52bn in the matching period in 2017.
Exports year-to-date decreased by 0.3% while imports for the same period showed an increase of 7.2%, SARS said.
Vehicle exports slumped by 19% in April from March, food and chemical exports both fell 15%, and base metal exports fell 11%.