SA reports trade surplus of R8.2 billion

In December 2015, South Africa posted a trade surplus of R8.2 billion; this as a result of factories cutting down on machinery and equipment imports during the year-end Christmas and holiday season.

According to a statement from the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the trade surplus widened to R8.2 billion ($0.5 billion) from November's revised figure. Imports dropped by 13% to R80.6 billion in the month, while exports fell by 5.1%, to R88.8 billion. Imports were led by a 16% drop in machinery purchases and 35% decline in equipment components, while exports declined primarily because of a 28% plunge in vehicle shipments.

While it is not uncommon to see a surplus during this time of year, this is South Africa's largest trade surplus in four years. According to SARS, the cumulative deficit for 2015 of R48.63 billion is 40.9% less than the deficit for the comparable period in 2014 of R82.27 billion.

SARS said in its statement:

"The R8.22 billion surplus is a 4.4% increase on the surplus recorded in December 2014 of R7.88 billion. Exports of R88.77 billion are 0.3 % more than the exports recorded in December 2014 of R88.47 billion. Imports of R80.55 billion are 0.1% less than the imports recorded in December 2014 of R80.59 billion."

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