Trade stats shows domestic recession keeps imports low

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September recorded a trade surplus of R33.51 billion (Getty)
September recorded a trade surplus of R33.51 billion (Getty)

A recovery in commodity prices and global demand saw SA record a trade surplus of R109.5 billion for the third quarter of the year, according to an economist.

The SA Revenue Service on Friday released trade statistics for September 2020, which reflected a trade surplus of R33.5 billion. Exports increased by 23.3% during the period and imports declined 3.2%. By comparison, August recorded a trade surplus of R38.7 billion.

For the year to date, the trade surplus stood at R167.45 billion, more than 300 times greater than the R0.48 billion surplus recorded for the same period last year.

"The trade dynamics relate mainly to the recovery in commodity prices and global demand during the third quarter that aided SA's export performance," said Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan.

However the domestic recession has curbed import growth, Kaplan noted. "Trade activity could however level off during Q4.20 (the fourth quarter) as some countries are reinstating partial lockdowns," she warned.

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