SA had a trade surplus of R5.22bn in July‚ from June’s revised surplus of R12.47bn (R12.53bn)‚ the South African Revenue Service (SARS) reported on Wednesday.
This was worse than the Trading Economics forecast of R11bn. A Bloomberg consensus expected a surplus of R8.1bn.
Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan‚ in a note on Friday‚ had forecast a trade surplus of R5bn in July.
Based on the available figures to date‚ on a cumulative basis‚ for the first six months of the year the trade account was in surplus at R17.4bn‚ compared to a deficit of R24.67bn in the same period last year. The first half of 2016 outcome was underpinned by export growth of 11.3% outpacing import growth of 4%.
“Weak domestic economic activity has dampened import growth of consumption and capital goods. On the export front‚ the lift in international commodity prices from January lows raised the value of most commodity exports in the first half‚” Kaplan wrote.
SA posted a higher than expected trade surplus of R12.5bn in June‚ from a downwardly revised deficit of R18.3bn in May. The figure came way above market expectations of R7.2bn surplus‚ as exports went up 0.7% and imports increased at a faster 7.6%.
The July surplus will help ease pressure on the current account deficit‚ which widened to 5% (R211bn) of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter‚ from 4.6% in the last quarter of 2015.- TMG Digital/BDlive