Another SA trade surplus surprise - thanks to continuing commodity boom

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Imports were mixed with mineral products up 16% and vehicle and transport equipment up 18%.
Imports were mixed with mineral products up 16% and vehicle and transport equipment up 18%.

The trade balance for April recorded a surplus of R51 billion, higher than the market consensus expectation of R37.5 billion.

The South African Revenue Service on Monday released the trade data, which was only slightly lower than the R52.5 billion recorded in March.

Precious metals and stones were the only export category that reported an increase, up 12%. Vegetable products, chemicals, base metals, and vehicles and transport equipment categories all reported declines. Total exports decreased by 3.9% month-on-month to R161 billion.

Imports were mixed with mineral products up 16% and vehicle and transport equipment up 18%. Imports of chemical products, machinery and electronics and original equipment components all declined. Overall, total imports declined month-on-month by 4.6% to R110 billion.

In a note, Investec economist Lara Hodes said that robust commodity prices and strengthening global demand are expected to continue to "buoy" export growth. Investec sees the trade surplus persisting in the near term.

In a separate note on global trade, Stanlib economists highlighted that the SA economy is benefiting from a rise in commodity prices, resulting in record foreign trade surpluses. "However, it is evident from a breakdown of SA's export performance that we continue to rely heavily on commodity exports and would benefit enormously from a broadening of the export base," the note read.

World trade volumes have improved by over 25% in the past ten months, Stanlib noted. Trade levels are now around 3% above the peak that existed in 2018.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders