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South Africans, surprisingly, have become large contributors to the global savings pool, with $10.7bn (R169.7bn) invested abroad over the past three quarters, equivalent to on average 4.3% of GDP. From 2010 to 2019 SA raised an average of $3.25bn (R35.7bn) of foreign capital each quarter, equivalent to a negative 3.6% of GDP. We are therefore now less dependent on foreign capital, with one deficit — a fiscal deficit — but is this good or bad news?

These flows abroad have come at the expense of expenditure on capital goods, which is now equivalent to 15% of GDP. The savings rate to GDP, at 17.3% in the first quarter of this year, has held up much better than the investment rate. The difference between savings and capital expenditure is equal to the current account surplus on the balance of payments, which is equal to the capital outflows — now strongly positive...

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