SA’S TRADE AC­COUNT IN THE RED AF­TER PRIOR SUR­PLUS

Pretoria News - - BUSINESS REPORT - | Siphelele Dludla

THE BAL­ANCE on the trade ac­count moved into the red in Jan­uary, record­ing a deficit of R1.87 bil­lion fol­low­ing a sur­plus of R13.89bn the pre­vi­ous month. The SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) said on Fri­day that the deficit was at­trib­ut­able to ex­ports of R101.41bn and im­ports of R103.28bn. Sars said ex­ports de­creased month-on-month by R1.45bn, while im­ports in­creased by R14.31bn in the same pe­riod. De­cem­ber trade sur­plus was re­vised down­wards by R0.95bn from the pre­vi­ous month’s pre­lim­i­nary sur­plus of R14.85bn to a re­vised sur­plus of R13.89bn, as a re­sult of on­go­ing Vouch­ers of Cor­rec­tion. These statis­tics in­clude trade data with Botswana, eSwa­tini, Lesotho and Namibia (BELN). Ex­clud­ing trade with BELN, Sars said the trade deficit was R8.54bn for Jan­uary as a re­sult of ex­ports of R90.86bn, and R99.40bn in im­ports. The cu­mu­la­tive deficit for 2020 was R8.54bn com­pared to R19.62bn deficit in 2019. In­vestec econ­o­mist Lara Hodes said the trade ac­count typ­i­cally reg­is­tered a deficit in Jan­uary as im­ports in­creased from the sea­sonal de­cline in De­cem­ber. Hodes said the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Goods Trade Barom­e­ter sig­nalled weak growth in world mer­chan­dise trade in early 2020. She said the or­gan­i­sa­tion also cau­tioned that the outbreak of the coronaviru­s “might dampen trade prospects fur­ther”. “Go­ing for­ward, the pace of export growth will likely be cur­tailed by the ef­fects on lo­cal in­dus­try of height­ened ro­ta­tional load shed­ding, as well as still ten­u­ous global trade growth.”

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