SA exports drop, trade deficit increases

As the export of minerals like coal and iron-ore declined while oil imports rose, so South Africa’s trade deficit widened.

South African Revenue Service (SARS) said in a statement that the trade gap increased to R9.95 billion ($720 million) from a revised R1.1 billion in July. The deficit for the first eight months of 2015, to August, was R36.3 billion, compared to R69.9 billion last year.

This means added pressure on the rand, which has weakened 16% against the dollar this year alone, as well as on the current-account. The current-account shortfall eased from 4.7% of GDP in the previous quarter to 3.1% in the three months through June - the lowest in almost four years.

According to reports, exports declined by 5.9%, to R87.6 billion. Imports rose by 3.6%, to R97.6 billion, with the purchase of vehicle and transportation equipment jumping 22%. The category which includes oil surged 12%.

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