SA records Trade deficit of R5.5bn in March

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South Africa recorded a trade deficit of R5.5 billion in March, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Monday.

“The trade deficit for March 2012 narrowed to R5.5 billion from a deficit of R7.5 billion in February 2012,” SARS said.

According to SARS, the reduced deficit was due to increased exports of mineral products, products of the chemicals or allied industries and precious and semi-precious stones. It was also due to decreased imports of animal or vegetable fats.

“The cumulative deficit for 2012 is R26.3 billion compared to a cumulative deficit of R5.1 billion in 2011,” noted SARS. 

Standard Bank economists had expected a deficit of R4.5 billion in March.

“The wide trade deficits have been a function of strong import growth. This is the consequence of weak export markets combined with comparative resilience in domestic demand as well as deterioration in South Africa’s terms of trade over the course of last year,” said Standard Bank earlier.

Imports and exports typically rise month-on-month between the months of February and March.

In January the deficit was at R13.5 billion.

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