Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA recorded a surprise trade surplus of R8.79bn in August, trumping analyst’s expectations.

This follows July’s revised deficit of R5.29bn. The figure was revised downwards by R0.64bn from R4.65bn as a result of ongoing vouchers of correction (VOC).

Bloomberg had a consensus of a R1.8bn deficit for August, after analysts were surprised by the July deficit.

The figures are notoriously difficult to predict and analysts  stress that it is important to look at trends, which pointed to a surplus, albeit lower than last year.

Data from the South African Revenue Service (Sars) on Friday showed that August’s surplus was attributable to exports of R116.88bn and imports of R108.09bn. Exports increased from July to August by 9.4% while imports decreased by 3.6%.

On a year-on-year basis, this is an improvement on the R6.8bn surplus recorded in August 2017. The year-to-date trade surplus of R2.66bn is a steep deterioration from the surplus for the comparable period in 2017 of R39.93bn.

Investec expected the trade data for August would likely reflect a moderate widening of the deficit. 

The rand was little changed after the news and at 2.22pm was trading at R14.17 to the dollar from yesterday’s close of R14.12.